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Most people are confused regarding the differences between the Western Red Cedar and Eastern Red Cedar trees. The Western Red Cedar is also referred to as the Pacific Red Cedar, and the genus is Thuja. It is found mostly in the Pacific Northwest in the United States. It is located from sea level to an elevation of 7500 feet. Though it originates from the Pacific Northwest, there are imports in temperate climates such as Western Europe. Australia and New Zealand. This tree does not need much sunlight and can thrive in dense shade.

The Western Red Cedar is large and ranges from 210 to 230 feet in height, and 10 to 13 feet in diameter. Some of these trees are 1400 years old. The leaves grow in opposite pairs, and the foliage has a lattice-like structure. The leaves have white stomatal bands and smell like pineapple when crushed. The cones are a reddish-brown and a half-inch in diameter. Two or three seeds are released from the cones as summer ends. The bark has ridges running the length of the tree and is also reddish-brown in color. The lumber has a reddish tinge, a distinctive aroma, and is not prone to bending or rotting.

The Eastern Red Cedar is also referred to as the Eastern Juniper and is found from the east coast in North America down to the Gulf of Mexico. The two subspecies are the Juniperus virginiana var virginiana, and the Juniperus virginiana var silicicola. The average height is 16 to 66 feet, with a 12 to 39-inch diameter, making this tree smaller than the Western Red Cedar. Some of these trees have lived for 900 years, and they provide food for birds during the winter with juniper berries. The leaves are needle-like and short.

Male Eastern Red Cedars have flowers in the late winter and early in the spring. The females have pale blue juniper fruits. The bark is thin, bright orange on the inside, and a light brown on the outside. The tree can live in limestone hills, pastures, prairies and forests. The wood is durable, light, and does not generally rot.

For more information, please visit Although a lot of trees are called Cedars, only a few true cedars are located in North America.