Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Common names are really confusing when we start to talk about cedars. In South Carolina, Eastern red cedar used to be the ”go to Christmas tree”, despite the fact that they are prickly as the devil. Their leaves are tightly clasped scales when mature (the even more prickly juvenile plants have needles) – –Their scientific name is juniperus virginiana. Red cedars grow in 37 states and are resistant to drought, cold, disease, and just about everything else. They also have great value to wildlife for both shelter andx food., Sadly, they’ve fallen out of favor and people plant Leyland Cypress instead – a tree unsuited to the south and prone to all sorts of deadly diseases. Cedrus is the genus considered the true cedars native to the middle and far east, And are the the cedars referred to in ancient writings, including the Bible.