Eastern Redcedar: Aromatic and Beautiful
The Eastern Redcedar tree is a common sight throughout most of the plains states and eastern United States. This beautiful tree is also aromatic, with its reddish wood giving off the scent of cedar chests and crushed fruit providing a whiff of the gin they once flavored. This hearty tree is famously tolerant to heat, salt, and a wide range of soils and other adverse conditions.
Birds are very fond of the berries of the Red Cedar. The Cedar Waxwing, a grayish brown bird, takes its name from this tree whose fruit is its favorite food. The twigs and foliage are eaten by browsers. Also, the evergreen foliage provides nesting and roosting cover for sparrows, robins, mockingbirds, juncos, and warblers.
The Eastern Redcedar is an ancient tree where fossil evidence indicates it covered large portions of the continent. The early Arthur Barlowe and Phillip Amadus were quoted as saying the trees were "the tallest and reddest cedars in the world" when they arrived at Roanoke Island in 1564. Colonial craftsmen relied on the wood from the Eastern Redcedar for furniture and fences as it had superior weathering capability and was easy to work with. Also, the wood is also known for its use in pencils for over a century until supplies became exhausted and the industry switched to more plentiful western cedars.