Are Cedar & Juniper Berries the Same?

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Plants in genus Juniperus are called both junipers and cedars.
Plants in genus Juniperus are called both junipers and cedars. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Plants in the botanical genus Juniperus carry common names of both juniper and cedar. If the botanical identities of the juniper and cedar in question are both in genus Juniperus, their fleshy female cones or "berries" are the same.

Types

Sprawling or upright ornamental shrubs often found in gardens, junipers bear bluish-black berries in fall and winter. Cedar trees, such as Juniperus virginiana, also bear these aromatic, soft berries on branch tips. True cedars, in genus Cedrus, do not produce similar cones. Cedrus cones are firm, upright, and the shape and size of poultry eggs.

Features

Juniper and cedar plants in genus Juniperus bear male and female cones on separate plants. Only female plants bear the berries. Each female berry contains one to 10 seeds. Berries persist on branches for two to three years.

Fun Fact

The berries from the common juniper, Juniperus communis, are crushed and used to flavor gin. The scented oils in cedar tree berries and foliage supply the fragrance used in items marketed as having a pine scent.

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References

  • "A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey, eds.; 2004
  • "Economic Botany: Plants in Our World, Second Edition"; Beryl Brintnall Simpson and Molly Conner Ogorzaly; 1995
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