Eastern red cedar
(Juniperus virginiana L.)
A native tree to the eastern half of the US. It has been slowly spreading into the Great Plains over the last 100 years. Historically, fire and grazing have kept this tree from overtaking our grasslands. If you think back to what life was like on the Great Plains several hundred years ago, there would have been periodic fire and a diverse group of ungulates grazing the prairie landscape. Some of these ungulates, like pronghorn antelope, would have consumed woody vegetation as part of their diet.