Common Juniper - Juniperus communis

Family: Cupressaceae - Cypress Family
Other Names: Ground juniper [E-flora]

Abortifacient, irritant (oil), Fruit, Spice, Essential Oil, Incense, Wood, Fiber, Diuretic, Antiseptic, Digestive Aid, Rheumatism

Habitat / Range
"Dry slopes and open forests to wet coastal muskeg in the lowland to alpine zones; common throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, E to NF and S to CA, AZ, NM, and GA; Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]


"Juniperus communis is an evergreen Shrub growing to 9 m (29ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, 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.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure." [PFAF]

General: Sprawling, evergreen shrub, 0.5-3.0 m tall; bark very thin, reddish-brown, shredding and scaly.[IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: Needle-like, with whitish channel on upper surface, (5) 7-12 (19) mm long, in whorls of three on stem. [IFBC-E-flora]
Cones: Seed cones fleshy, berrylike, egg-shaped to globose, 6-9 mm long, green in first year, ripening in second year to bluish black; pollen and seed cones on separate plants. [IFBC-E-flora]
USDA Flower Colour: Yellow
USDA Blooming Period: Mid Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses



  • Analgesic (1; APA; DEM; JBU) [HMH Duke]
  • Antibacterial (f; PED); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiedemic (1; BGB; CAN); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiherpetic (1; BGB; CAN; FNF); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiinflammatory (1; APA; BGB; PNC); [HMH Duke]
  • Antimalarial (1; FNF); [HMH Duke]
  • Antipyretic (f; KAB); [HMH Duke]
  • Antirheumatic (1; BGB; PED); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiseptic (1; APA; FAD; KAP; MAD; PNC); [HMH Duke] Fully ripe fruits [PFAF]
  • Antispasmodic (f; APA); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiviral (1; BGB; FNF); [HMH Duke]
  • Aperitif (1; BGB; KAB); [HMH Duke]
  • Aphrodisiac (1; KAB; MAD); [HMH Duke]
  • Bitter (1; APA); [HMH Duke]
  • Candidicide (1; FNF; PED); [HMH Duke]
  • Carminative (1; FAD; KAB; LAF; PNC; SUW); [HMH Duke] Fully ripe fruits [PFAF]
  • Depurative (f; CRC; MAD; PED); [HMH Duke]
  • Diaphoretic (f; CEB; CRC); [HMH Duke] Fully ripe fruits [PFAF]
  • Digestive (1; CRC; KAP; LAF; SKY); [HMH Duke]
  • Diuretic (1; APA; FAD; FEL; KAB; PH2; SUW); [HMH Duke]
  • Emmenagogue (f; CRC; KAB; SUW); [HMH Duke]
  • Fungicide (1; BGB; CAN; KAP); [HMH Duke]
  • Hypoglycemic (1; APA; CAN); [HMH Duke]
  • Hypotensive (1; CAN; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Laxative (f; CEB; DEM; FAD); [HMH Duke]
  • Nephrotoxic (f; APA); [HMH Duke]
  • Sedative (f; CEB; DEM); [HMH Duke]
  • Stimulant (f; CEB; CRC; KAB; SUW); [HMH Duke]
  • Stomachic (1; APA; BGB; SUW); [HMH Duke] Fully ripe fruits [PFAF]
  • Tonic (f; APA; KAB; MIC); [HMH Duke] Fully ripe fruits [PFAF]



"Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis, and J. chinensis were evaluated for repellence against adult yellow fever mosquitoes, Ae. Aegypti; hostseeking lone star tick nymphs, Amblyomma amerincanum; the blacklegged tick, I. scapularis, and for toxicity against Ae. aegypti larvae and adults [19]. All oils were repellent to both species of ticks. The EC95 values of C. funebris, J. communis, and J. chinensis oils against A. americanum were 0.43, 0.51, and 0.92 mg oil/cm2 filter paper, respectively, compared to 0.68 mg DEET/cm2 filter paper. All I. scapularis nymphs were repelled by 0.10 mg oil/cm2 filter paper of C. funebris oil. At 4 h after application, 0.83 mg oil/cm2 filter paper, C. funebris and J. chinensis oils repelled >80% of A. americanum nymphs. The oils of C. funebris and J. chinensis did not prevent female Ae. aegypti from biting at the highest dosage tested (1.50 mg/ cm2). However, the oil of J. communis had a minimum effective dosage (estimate of ED 99) for repellence of 0.029+/-0.018 mg/cm2; this oil was nearly as potent as DEET. The oil of J. chinensis showed a slight ability to kill Ae. aegypti larvae, at 80 and 100% at 125 and 250 ppm, respectively." [Gang 50]



"...An easily grown plant, it succeeds in hot dry soils and in poor soils. Succeeds in most soils so long as they are well drained[186], preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil. Does well in chalky soils[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates a pH range from 4 to 8[186]. Succeeds in light woodland but dislikes heavy shade[186]. Established plants are very tolerant of drought[186]. Although the fully dormant plant is cold-tolerant throughout Britain, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. All parts of the plant are very aromatic[245]. Juniper is a very polymorphic species that has a long history of culinary and medicinal use[244]. It is frequently grown in the ornamental and herb garden, there is a huge range of cultivars of widely diverse habits[11, 81]. At least some forms tolerate maritime exposure[186], there is a thriving colony in an exposed position at Land's End in Cornwall[81]. The fruits take 2 - 3 years to ripen on the plant[11]. Plants are usually very slow growing, often only a few centimetres a year[186]. Resists honey fungus[88]. Plants are sometimes attacked by a rust, this fungus has an aecidial stage on hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)[1]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required...." [PFAF]

"In Juniperus communis, the endophyte Aspergillus fumigatus was identified and reported to produce deoxypodophyllotoxin [33]." See journal; (Kusari S, Lamshöft M, Spiteller M (2009) Aspergillus fumigatus Fresenius, an endophytic fungus from Juniperus communis L. Horstmann as a novel source of the anticancer pro-drug deoxypodophyllotoxin. J Appl Microbiol 107:1019–1030) [Jetter PBFA]


"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]

"Vegetative: Mountain juniper can be propagated by cuttings and will root in a sand medium (Snyder 1991)."[PPNWNP]

Use of Related Sp.


Page last modified on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 8:44 PM