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Marcus, Joseph A.
Juniperus ashei J. Buchholz
Ashe juniper, Ashe's juniper, Mountain cedar, Blueberry juniper
Synonym(s): Juniperus ashei var. ovata, Juniperus occidentalis var. conjungens, Juniperus occidentalis var. texana, Juniperus sabinoides
USDA Symbol: Juas
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Evergreen tree with trunk often grooved and twisted or branched from base, and with rounded or irregular, open crown; sometimes forming thickets. Ashe junipers large, radiating branches, which start almost at ground level, give the illusion of a multi-trunked tree. Female trees with blue berrylike cones; male with a burnt gold appearance in winter due to pollen. Fragrant, dark-green foliage, blue fruits on females, and shaggy bark are characteristic of this 30 ft. evergreen.
Though a fragrant, evergreen, and picturesque tree, Ashe Juniper pollen, like that of many junipers, is very irritating to people with cedar allergies, so where the tree occurs in large concentrations, as in central Texas, it often becomes hated and targeted for removal, with various, sometimes invented, rationalizations given for doing so. Ashe Juniper is native from southern Missouri south through Oklahoma and then down through central and west Texas to northern Chihuahua. It was abundant in central Texas when the earliest European explorers arrived, having existed in the region at least since the Pleistocene. It is thus an integral part of the native flora. The uniquely rich and well-draining soil that builds up as juniper leaves fall and decompose is ideal for several native plants, some of which tend to occur almost exclusively in association with it, including Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) and Cedar Rosette Grass (Dichanthelium pedicillatum). The beautiful but notoriously difficult to propagate Texas Madrone (Arbutus xalapensis) also seems to germinate best in the soil beneath these trees. Other central Texas plants often seen under or near it are American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus), White Limestone Honeysuckle (Lonicera albiflora), Lindheimers Garrya (Garrya ovata var. lindheimeri), and Orange Zexmenia (Wedelia texana). Better known is that a rare warbler, the Golden-cheeked Warbler, uses Ashe Juniper bark almost exclusively to build its nests. Many kinds of wildlife eat the sweetish berries, and the durable wood is a local source of fenceposts. The tree is named in honor of William Willard Ashe 1872-1932, pioneer forester of the United States Forest Service, who collected a specimen in Arkansas.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Root Type: Tap Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Complexity: Simple Breeding System:
, Dioecious Size Notes:
Rarely grows over 30 feet tall. Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Feb
, TX Native Distribution:
s.w. through AR
to central and w. TX,
& Chihuahua Native Habitat:
Canyons; arroyos; limestone outcrops
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry Soil Description:
Rocky, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay Conditions Comments:
Texas madrone, Texas smoke tree,
cedar sage, and zexmenia germinate and grow well beneath ashe juniper, refuting the rumor that nothing grows under these trees. Ashe juniper is immune to cedar-apple rust. It invades disturbed sites.
Aromatic, Attractive, ornamental. Use Wildlife:
Ashe juniper berries are highly palatable to many species of birds and small mammals. The bark
of Ashe juniper is very is used for nesting material by the rare golden-cheeked warbler. Use Other:
Ashe juniper is used for fenceposts, crossties, poles and fuel. Fragrant Foliage:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Juniper hairstreak, Olive butterfly. Deer Resistant:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed can be sown outdoors in fall or stratified and sown in spring. Seed germination is often poor, so a large quantity of seeds should be sown.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds from late summer through fall when it has turned its ripe color. Seed can be extracted by running the fruits through a macerator. Thoroughly dry and clean seeds to avoid mold and overheating. If not planting immediately, air dry before storing. Store in sealed containers at 20-40 degrees.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 41 degrees for 30-120 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Plants for wildlife and trees for shade.
September 29, 2007
We live in Kempner Texas, our land has mostly cedar trees. We would like to make a wildlife habitat on the back side of our property. Can you recommend plants that will grow in shade to partial sun,...
view the full question and answer
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0906
Collected Jun 25, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-191
Collected 2007-11-12 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2013-05-11
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG