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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Juniperus deppeana Steud.
Alligator juniper, Checkerbark juniper, Tacate, Tlascal
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar
, 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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Fast growing, Attractive
Use Wildlife: Nesting site, Cover, Browse, Seeds-Small mammals, Seeds-granivorous birds
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. 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
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.
Record Last Modified: 2011-02-23
Research By: TWC Staff