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Native Plant Database

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Juniperus deppeana (Alligator juniper)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Juniperus deppeana

Juniperus deppeana Steud.

Alligator juniper, Checkerbark juniper, Tacate, Tlascal

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Juniperus deppeana ssp. sperryi, Juniperus deppeana var. pachyphlaea, Juniperus deppeana var. sperryi, Juniperus mexicana, Juniperus pachyderma

USDA Symbol: jude2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Alligator juniper forms a broadly-pyramidal or round-topped crown. The distinctive bark is furrowed into checkered plates. Fragrant, dark blue-green, scale-like foliage and copper-colored fruit are other landscape characteristics. This evergreen grows to 48 ft. in height.

Alligator Juniper is easily recognized by its distinctive bark. One of the largest junipers, it is used for fuel and fenceposts. New sprouts often appear at the base of cut stumps. The large berries are consumed by birds and mammals. Large trees often have a partially dead crown of grotesque appearance with some branches that die and turn light gray instead of falling; other branches die only in a vertical strip and continue to grow on the other side.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Fruit:
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar

Distribution

USA: AZ , NM , TX
Native Distribution: Mts. of w. TX, NM, AZ, and Mexico as far south as Oaxaca
Native Habitat: Open, rocky hills & slopes; shrub oak areas in mts.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, well-drained soils. Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Rocky
Conditions Comments: Very adaptable. Often associated with scrub oak. Invades disturbed sites.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Fast growing, Attractive
Use Wildlife: Nesting site, Cover, Browse, Seeds-Small mammals, Seeds-granivorous birds
Attracts: Birds

Propagation

Propagation 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. 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

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU FACU FACU
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 Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX

Bibliography

Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2011-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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