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Atlantic White Cedar vs Eastern Redcedar

These two species are easily confused where their ranges overlap, especially on mature trees with scalelike foliage. The two can be told apart easily by closely examining their seed cones, and also by their bark. Young trees can be readily distinguished by their foliage. Redcedar is much more common and widely adaptable; it prefers drier sites. Atlantic white cedar is limited to acidic wetlands.

Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)

A native evergreen conifer of acidic wetlands of the east coast.
A native evergreen conifer of sunny habitats; unlike most conifers, tends to decrease soil acidity.
Unripe seed cones larger and have more pointed scales.
Photo © Robert H. Mohlenbrock, Public Domain.
Unripe seed cones smaller and smoother.
Photo © Dan MacNeal, CC BY 4.0.
Seed cones turn brown and open, releasing wind-dispersed seeds when ripe.
Photo © botanygirl, CC BY 4.0.
Berryl-like seed cones turn blue when ripe, and usually remain on tree until eaten by birds.
Photo © Drew Sauve, CC BY 4.0.
Bark thicker, with wider ridges that often spiral slightly around the trunk.
Photo © C. Ben Schwamb, CC BY 4.0.
Bark reddish, thinner, and peeling in narrow, vertical strips.
Photo © Rod, Public Domain.
Always has scale-like foliage.
Photo © Kevin Keegan, Public Domain.
Young plants have sharp, needle-like foliage, arranged in whorls of three around the stem; plants only develop scale-like foliage when mature.
Photo © Katja Schulz, CC BY 4.0.