Juniperus californica Carrière
California juniper, Desert white cedar
Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
Synonym(s): Juniperus cedrosiana, Juniperus cerrosianus, Juniperus pyriformis, Sabina californica
USDA Symbol: juca7
A tree-like shrub, 10-15 ft. high, with stout, irregular stems and a broad, erect, open habit. Bark is ashy gray, foliage is bluish-gray and scale-like, and berry-like cones are bluish, turning reddish-brown.
Able to withstand heat and drought, this species extends farther down into the semidesert zone than other junipers and is important in erosion control on dry slopes. Indians used to gather the berries to eat fresh and to grind into meal for baking.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Dioecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Fruit: Berry-like cones are bluish, turning reddish-brown.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Male flowers and female flowers are on separate trees.
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , NV
Native Distribution: Mts. of CA, s. NV & w. AZ; also Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, alkaline slopes & flats below 5000 ft.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, alkaline soils.
Conditions Comments: Very ornamental and drought-tolerant.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Provides food and shelter for a variety of wildlife.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Juniperus californica is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Sequoia sphinx |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: 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. Germination may also be prompted with burn treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
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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
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Juniperus californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Juniperus californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Juniperus californica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2011-08-17
Research By: TWC Staff