E is for Eastern Red Cedar, an Evergreen

This native evergreen is often overlooked.

Eastern Red Cedar

The blue-green needles are pretty and prickly, and you wouldn’t think any animals would eat them, but White-tailed deer, rabbits and mice will. Eastern Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana grow in open sunny places, usually disturbed soil, so you humans see them most often sprouting as little conical trees in the medians of your highways. In the olden days, they grew along fence rows. Those big trees with their red-brown shredy bark are a beautiful sight overhanging country roads. Unfortunately we suburban squirrels don’t have a photo of one–so you will have to make do with this one that had another tree combines with it.

Eastern Red Cedar tree

Eastern Red Cedar with seed cones in fall

The flowers aren’t much to look at, but in the fall the bluish berry-like cones ripen and are eaten by all kinds of animals: Woodpeckers, Cedar Waxwings, Bluebirds, Quail, turkey, doves, finches, crows, and also, red fox, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and of course, squirrels!

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