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The aromatic character of the wood is considered to be a good insect repellant. The extract of cedar oil has various uses commercially. The tree is host to a peculiar looking gall-like growth called cedar apple rust, which in certain stages attacks the leaves of apple trees. At Yuletide, the tree is often used as the traditional Christmas tree. It is sometimes used in shelter-belt planting and has been cultivated since 1664. The fruit is eaten by 20 species of birds and the opossum. The roasted berries of some species of juniper are sometimes used as a coffee substitute, and in parts of northern Europe an edible pulp is extracted from the berries of the juniper and often eaten with bread.
Native Americans fashioned hunting bows from the wood of the eastern red cedar, and used the twigs of the red cedar and yew (Taxus spp.) medicinally by preparing a decoction by boiling and splashing the material on hot stones or by taking internally for the relief of rheumatism. The bark of the red cedar was used by Chippewa women in Ontario for coloring the strips of cedar in their mats. A decoction was made of the dark red inner bark to produce a dye of mahogany color and the cedar strips were boiled in it.