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Alder, Michael G.
Juniperus communis L.
USDA Symbol: JUCO6
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr
AK , AL , AZ , CA , CO , CT , 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 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
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From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff