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Juniperus communis var. depressa Pursh
Common juniper, Old field juniper, Prostrate juniper
USDA Symbol: jucod
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
AK , 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: NB
, 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 USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsLight 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.
BenefitUse 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
PropagationDescription: Generally, cuttings should be taken after several hard freezes although references point to any time from July to April. Hormone treatment improves rooting. Propagation is also possible by seed. Seed can be sown outdoors in fall or stratified and sown
Seed Collection: Collect ripened fruits in fall or winter, clean by maceration, dry seeds, and store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Warm treatment followed by cold stratification is beneficial.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff