Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Evergreens, Conifers
Light Requirements: sun
Water Use: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Soil Description: acid, neutral, alkaline, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: March, April
Bloom Color: yellow
Leaf Color: green, blue-green, gray-green
Hardiness Zone: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Additional Tags: attracts birds, berries, clumping, creeping, drought tolerant, dune plant, edible, evergreen, fall interest, fragrant plant, mat-forming, medicinal, mounding, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant, showy fruit
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Juniperus communisAlso known as:
Juniperus communis is a slow-growing, long-lived evergreen conifer. Its form is variable. It is usually considered a low growing shrub with a horizontal spread and a height under 3', but depending on location and age, can also be found as a 30' tree with an open irregular crown. The leaves are short thin needles, usually green but occasionally with a silvery sheen. The berry-like fruit are in actuality modified pine cones. They emerge green at first, ripening to bluish-purple over the course of 2 to 3 years, thus different colored berries will always be present.
Common juniper is a well deserved name. It is the most widely distributed tree in the northern hemisphere, and can be found in Alpine environments, on sand dunes along coastal areas, and as far north as the Arctic circle. It is adaptable to all soil types, but prefers those that are well to very well-drained, and of low fertility. Very resistant to drought, it can withstand some of the harshest conditions. It is shade intolerant and is best placed in a location with full sun. The low growing branches will have a tendency to root when they become in contact with the soil, a process known as self-layering. Blooms are insignificant and occur in March and April. An extremely cold hardy species: zones 2-7
It is best propagated from cuttings or by layering. Seeds from young specimens have low viability. Collected seeds will need to undergo a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. Germination rates can be increased through acid scarification of the seeds, a process replicated in nature when they pass through the digestive tract of animals.
Juniper berries are the primary ingredient used in flavoring gin. They are also widely used to flavor cooked foods, from meat and wild game dishes, to vegetables such as cabbage, or in the preparation of sauerkraut. The berries also have been used medicinally for their diuretic, antiseptic, aromatic and antirheumatic properties among others.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
USDA Endangered Status:
- Endangered: MD, OH
- Extirpated: MD
- Rare: IN
- Threatened: IL, KY
|Species||Juniperus communis||common juniper|