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Juniperus silicicola - (Small.)L.H.Bailey.

Common Name Southern Redcedar, Juniper, Southern Red Cedar
Family Cupressaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards All parts of the plant might be toxic[4, 222].
Habitats Low wet areas of swamps, stream and creek margins and flood-plain woodlands. Tolerating varying levels of soil moisture, it also grows in open woods and abandoned fields, usually on limestone[229].
Range South-eastern N. America - South Carolina to Texas.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Juniperus silicicola Southern Redcedar, Juniper, Southern  Red Cedar

W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Juniperus silicicola Southern Redcedar, Juniper, Southern  Red Cedar
W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


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Form: Columnar, Oval, Pyramidal.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Juniperus silicicola is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A thin, sweetish resinous flesh, the cones are about 7 - 10mm in diameter and have a thin skin[82, 229].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Abortifacient  Analgesic  Anthelmintic  Antirheumatic  Antiseptic  Aromatherapy  Cancer  Diaphoretic  
Diuretic  Emmenagogue  Febrifuge  Rubefacient

The leaves are analgesic, antirheumatic, diuretic and febrifuge[257]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, stiff neck, backache, headaches, low fever, coughs, colds and diarrhoea[257]. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a body rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatism[257]. The following reports are for the closely related J. virginiana, they probably also apply to this species. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic, rubefacient and stimulant[4, 257]. A decoction has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds, general weakness and as a medicine for convalescents[257]. The berries are anthelmintic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue and mildly antiseptic[4, 213, 222, 257]. They have been chewed as a treatment for mouth ulcers[213, 257] or made into a tea to treat colds, rheumatism, worms etc[222, 257]. The fresh young twigs are used as a diuretic[213]. An infusion has been used both internally and as a steam bath in the treatment of rheumatism[257]. The essential oil from the wood is an abortifacient, in some cases it has caused vomiting, convulsions, coma and death[4, 213]. The plant is said to contain the anticancer compound podophyllotoxin[222]. The essential oil from the berries is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Composing'[210].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Incense  Insecticide  Repellent  Shelterbelt  Wood

Wood - straight-grained, very durable, light, brittle, soft, easily worked, very fragrant, insect-resistant[229]. The wood does not shrink much on drying and weighs 30lb per cubic foot[227]. The reddish wood is highly prized for cabinet making[226], it is also used for fencing, the casing of lead pencils etc[229]. This tree has been over-exploited and large trees suitable for commercial exploitation are now rare[229]. The following reports are for the closely related J. virginiana, they probably also apply to this species. An essential oil is obtained from the wood[1, 46, 57, 61]. Composed of cedar camphor or cedrol[213], it is used in soaps, as an insecticide and moth repellent[61, 213], a deodorant, in polishes, perfumery etc[4, 21]. The leaves are used as an incense[46, 213] and are also either burnt or crushed and then scattered around as an insect repellent[169, 257]. The crushed bark can be used as a soft base in cradles[257]. The bark has also been used to make mats[257]. Some cultivars of this tree are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 90cm apart each way[208]. 'Tripartita' and 'Chamberlaynii' have been recommended[208]. A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[200].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground cover  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Screen, Seashore, Specimen. Succeeds in most soils if they are well drained, preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil[1, 11] and succeeding on chalk[200]. Established plants are drought tolerant, succeeding in hot dry positions[200]. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of the country, requiring a warm sunny sheltered position[81]. A very ornamental tree, it is a slow-growing but long-lived tree in the wild[229]. Seed production is cyclic, a year of high yields being followed by some years of low yields[229]. Closely related to J. virginiana[229]. This species often hybridizes with other members of the genus. The crushed foliage has an aroma like soap or paint[185]. Plants are resistant to honey fungus[88]. In America this tree is a host of a gall-like rust that at certain stages in its life-cycle also attacks the leaves of apple trees[149]. Plants are dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is flat with shallow roots spreading near the soil surface [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration[78, 81]. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[11]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years[1]. Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[1, 78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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