"Shrub, tree; generally dioecious. Stem: bark thin, peeling in strips; young shoots 4-angled to cylindric. Leaf: opposite (4-ranked) or whorled in 3s (6-ranked), scale-like to less often awl- or needle-like. Pollen cone: generally terminal; pollen sacs 2–6 per scale. Seed cone: generally terminal, 5–18 mm, ± spheric, ± fleshy, berry-like, glaucous or not, dry or resinous, generally maturing 2nd year, surrounded at base by minute scale-like bracts; scales 3–8, fused, opposite or whorled in 3s. Seed: 1–3 per cone, ± flat, unwinged, often not angled, generally animal-dispersed over 2 years; cotyledons 2–6.
67 species, 28 var.: northern hemisphere except northeastern Africa. (Latin: juniper) [Adams & Nguyen 2007 Phytologia 89:43–57; Adams et al. 2006 Phytologia 88:299–309]
Unabridged references: [Adams 2004 Junipers of the World: The genus Juniperus. Trafford Publ., Vancouver]" [Jepson]


Note that since the publication of the Illustrated Flora, new species have been added to the BC flora, and are not incorporated in the keys.[E-flora]

Local Species;

  1. Juniperus communis - common juniper [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  2. Juniperus maritima - seaside juniper [E-flora]
  3. Juniperus scopulorum - Rocky Mountain juniper [PCBC][E-flora]

Juniperus maritima - seaside juniper


This is a blue listed taxon in B.C. [E-flora]
General: Trees single stemmed to 15 m or more with pyramidal or round crown; seldom a sprawling shrub less than 1 m (wind-swept sites along the shore); bark brown, exfoliating in thin strips.[1-E-flora]
Leaves: Mostly scale-like, with blunt tips and entire margin (20-x to 40-x magnification), leaves on young innovations needle-like. [1-E-flora]
Cones: Seed cones globose to kidney-shaped, 6-8 mm in diameter; black-blue to bluish-brown; seeds commonly excerted; maturing in 14-16 months; present from Fall to Winter. [1-E-flora]
Notes: The species, previously included in Juniperus scopulorum, is characterized by having seed cones that mature in one year (14-16 months), seeds usually exserted from the cone, obtuse scale leaf tips; scale leaves overlap less than 1/5 the length, and branchlets smooth and reddish-brown.[1-E-flora]

Habitat / Range
Dry rocky shores of Georgia Strait (“Saalish Sea”) and Puget Sound exceptionally in higher elevation (Deer Park, Olympic Mountains); endemic in coastal SW BC and NW WA. Source: Adams, R.P. (2007, 2008).[IFBC-E-flora]
Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Juniperus scopulorum - Rocky Mountain juniper

Other Names: Weeping Rocky Mountian Juniper, Colorado Red Cedar.[E-flora]

"Juniperus scopulorum is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. [PFAF]
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure."[PFAF]

"General: Usually a small, erect evergreen tree to 10 m tall, with conical form, but also a sprawling shrub less than 1 m; bark reddish-brown, scaly or fibrous and stringy. [IFBC-E-flora]"
"Leaves: Mostly scalelike, opposite, not prickly, but young leaves needle-like, 5-7 mm long, in whorls of three on stem." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Cones: Seed cones fleshy, berrylike, 5-6 mm long, bluish-purple when mature, glaucous; pollen and seed cones on separate plants." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Notes: See J. horizontalis for discussion of hybridization." [IFBC-E-flora]

Habitat / Range
"Dry open, often calcareous, rocky soils in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S BC, rare northward to Telegraph Creek; E to SW AB and S to AZ, NM, CO and W NE." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information

"A very shade-intolerant, montane, Western North American evergreen coniferous shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Occurs predominantly in continental cool temperate and cool semiarid climates on excessively dry to very dry and nitrogen-medium (often alkaline) soils; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality and temperature. In the coastal region, very sporadic in open­canopy shrub communities on very shallow, water-shedding sites of calcium-rich rock outcrops; common in the coast­interior ecotone. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites." [IPBC][E-flora]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

"The boughs are used as an incense to fumigate houses and to drive off smells. The wood can be burnt or just hung in the room, or it can be boiled up in water and the water used to wash the walls, floor etc[99]. The bark is employed as a tinder and is also made into a slow match[216]. The dried seeds have been used as beads or as the 'rattle' in rattles[99, 216]. The fruits and the leaves are used as an insect repellent[169]. A strong infusion of the cones is used to kill ticks[99]." [PFAF]

Medicinal Uses

"Rocky Mountain juniper was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who used it in particular to treat problems connected with the chest and kidneys[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism."[PFAF]

Cultivation & Propagation

"The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration[78, 81]. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[11]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years[1]. Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[1, 78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78]."[PFAF]

"Succeeds in most soils, including chalk[200], so long as they are well drained, preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil[1, 11]. A drought tolerant species once established, succeeding in hot dry positions[200]. Plants are fairly wind-resistant[200]. A long-lived but slow-growing tree in its native range[227], it is very slow growing in Britain where it only makes a shrub[185]. Closely allied to J. virginiana[1, 81] and hybridising with it where the ranges meet[226]. It differs mainly in the fruit, which takes two years to mature in this species instead of one[226]. Plants are resistant to honey fungus[88]. This tree is apparently resistant to the rust fungus that attacks the closely related J. virginiana[149]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features: North American native, Fragrant foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms." [PFAF]
"Plants can be grown as a ground cover, the cultivar 'Repens' is especially suitable[208]. A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[200]. In N. America it is used to some extent in re-afforestation and shelterbelt plantings on the prairies[227]."[PFAF]

Uses of Juniper Sp.

Species Mentioned;
Juniperus sp.; J. communis, J. horizontalis, J. californica, J. occidentalis, J. scopulorum. [Schofield]

J. scopulorum. "All the species of Juniperus can be tried" including; J. communis, J. monosperma, J.osteosperma (J. utahensis), J. deppeana (J. pachyphloea). "The last two being recommended particularily" [Harrington]

J. scopulorum, J. occidentals, J. californica, J. osteosperma, J. monosperma, J. deppeana.[Berries]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"From the Nez Perce in Idaho to the Navajo of Arizona, juniper tea was a treatment for colds, coughs, headaches, and flu. The Paiute of the Great Basin liked to boil the berries, skim off the pitch, and drink what was left or inhale the fumes." [Berries???]

"To treat sinus congestion, they made a hole in the septum of the nose and inserted a juniper twig." [Berries???]

More Uses


Juniper had ceremonial and psychological uses, too. The Navajo carried a sprig of it at night to protect against ghosts and evil spirits. Cheyenne men carved juniper wood flutes, hoping the music would encourage young women to fall in love with them. If a Hopi child was naughty the mother could ask another woman to hold the child over a smoky juniper fire until the mother thought the young one had breathed enough smoke to cure the naughtiness. The Navajo dried the berries for necklaces and bracelets. Mothers put these "ghost beads" on their babies to prevent bad dreams. [Berries]


Note to self: 'Berries' needs reference data and confirmation of direct quotation. Also check 'Coffee' referenced data
Page last modified on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:38 PM