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Kentucky Color - Cedar Eggs

Berries of eastern redcedar give ready indication of tree's gender
  • The next earlier Kentucky Color: Bristle Thisle Essay on a plant which is at once a thing of beauty and a monumental pest.

  • By Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester
    Kentucky Division of Forestry

    Eastern redcedar is the most widely distributed, tree-sized conifer in the United States. It grows on just about any soil type but is only usually dominant on poor, shallow soils where it out performs most other species.

    Eastern redcedar is of course best known for its red heartwood and pleasant fragrance. The heartwood is really rot resistant and makes very long lasting fence post, insect resistant chests and closets, and is an important source of cedarwood oil which is an important component of fragrance compounding for many different products.

    Redcedar trees are either male or female. The cedar eggs are really cedar cones that are formed on the male trees, only. In some regions cedar cones are referred to as Juniper berries. They are a bit bitter for human consumption but are an important part of the diet of raccoons, coyotes, quail, grouse, rabbits, foxes, turkeys, skunks, opossums, etc.

    Fertilization of the little eggs/cones/berries takes place in early June with the color beginning as greenish and changing to greenish white, to whitish blue, to finally bluish during a period of about two months.

    This story was posted on 2011-07-06 14:28:27
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    Kentucky Color: Easten Red Cedar

    2011-07-06 - 300 Block Fairground ST, Adair Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge, Retired District Forester.
    Cedar eggs or cones only grow on the male, Eastern red cedar. A rather large male can be seen in the 300 block of Fairground Street on the Lindsey Wilson side. The cedar eggs/cones/berries are presently in their whitish blue phase.

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