Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) and white cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) grow in Michigan. Eastern red cedar is a bit of a misnomer because the tree is actually a juniper. White cedar, also known as arborvitae, is a true cedar.
Eastern red cedar grows in dry fields or wetlands in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula. White cedar grows in cold, wet sites of the Upper Peninsula, but extends as far south as Jackson and Washtenaw counties in the Lower Peninsula.
Both eastern red cedar and white cedar are evergreens. Eastern red cedar grows 10 to 40 feet tall and develops a pyramid shape. White cedar grows 10 to 70 feet tall and develops an oval shape.
Eastern red cedar produces reddish-brown bark, awl-shaped leaves and pea-sized blue-gray berries. White cedar produces gray bark and fan-like sprays of aromatic leaves.
- “Trees of Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes”; Norman F. Smith; 1997
- USDA Plants Database: County Distribution Map-Juniperus Virginiana L.
- USDA Plants Database: County Distribution Map-Thuja Occidentalis L.
- Michigan State University Extension: Juniperus Virginiana-Eastern Red Cedar
- Michigan State University Extension: Thuja Occidentalis-White Cedar