Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Juniperus communis var. depressa

Common juniper, Old field juniper, Prostrate juniper

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Juniperus communis var. depressa (Common juniper)
Cressler, Alan
A low-spreading, evergreen shrub, 3-6 ft. tall, with trailing branches ascending stiffly at the tips, this juniper often forms circular mats several yards in diameter. Awl-shaped needles, whorled in sets of three, form sharp points. The foliage is gray-green to blue-green in summer, sometimes assuming a yellow or brownish cast in winter. The fruit is berry-like, blue-black, and covered with a powdery bloom.

Image Gallery:

15 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow


USA: 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: NB , NL , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Nf. to AK, s. to NJ, n. IN, n.e. IL, the Dakotas & occasional in w. & s.e. mt. states
Native Habitat: Wooded hillsides; mountain woodlands

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Dry, rocky or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: The species J. communis is the most widely distributed native conifer in the world. It is extremely hardy and adaptable to diverse soil and climatic conditions. It is susceptible, however, to juniper blight.


Use Wildlife: Valuable wildlife habitat and food.
Use Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Berries used to flavor gin and for cooked meats and red cabbage. 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

Last Update: 2014-09-10