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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Juniperus communis (Common juniper)
Alder, Michael G.

Juniperus communis

Juniperus communis L.

Common juniper

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: juco6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Black, Blue

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr

Distribution

USA: 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 , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , QC , 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.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy

Benefit

Use 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
Attracts: Birds

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Flowering and evergreen shrubs for landscape in Indiana
May 29, 2010
I live in Southern Indiana and we are getting ready to redesign our front landscape. Currently, we have some yews and other shrubs that are unruly and require a lot of pruning and care. My husband hat...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for playground barrier hedge in Darien CT
December 07, 2009
I am working on my Eagle Scout project which is a barrier hedge in front of a playground at our town's baseball field to protect the kids from getting hit by balls. The fence would be 4 feet tall an...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU UPL FACU FACU UPL UPL FACU UPL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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 on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

USDA: Find Juniperus communis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Juniperus communis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Juniperus communis

Metadata

Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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