Alder, Michael G.
Juniperus communis L.
Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
Usually a spreading low shrub,
sometimes forming broad or prostrate
clumps; rarely a small tree
with an open irregular crown.
Although commonly a tree
in Eurasia, Common Juniper is only rarely a small tree
in New England and other northeastern States. In the West, it is a low shrub,
often at timberline. Including geographic varieties, this species is the most widely distributed native
conifer in both North America and the world. Juniper berries are food for wildlife, especially grouse, pheasants, and bobwhites. They are an ingredient in gin, producing the distinctive aroma and tang.
Image Gallery: 3 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr
AL , AK , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DE , GA , ID , IL , IN , IA , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MT , NE , NV , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , ND , OH , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , UT , VT , VA , WA , WV , WI , WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
Widespread from Alaska east to Labrador and S. Greenland, south to New York, and west to Minnesota and Wyoming; also south in mountains to NW. South Carolina and central Arizona; also Iceland and across N. Eurasia; to 8000-11,5000 (2438-3505 m) in south. Native Habitat:
Rocky slopes in coniferous forests of mountains and plains. USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy
BenefitUse Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Berries used to flavor gin and for cooked meats and red cabbage. Crushed berries make nice seasoning. Juniper tea can be made by placing a dozen young berryless twigs in a quart of cold water.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Fleshy cones (resemble berries), leaves. Toxic Principle: Volatile oils including thujone.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes