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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 18, 2007

From: Lake Oswego, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Viability of Juniperus ashei for making furniture
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My husband uses juniper from Oregon to make beautiful furniture. Underneath the ugly bark is a wonderful wood. Is this the same Juniper as we saw all around Austin, Texas.

ANSWER:

Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) is the common juniper that you see in and around Austin. As you can see from the distribution maps of the Genus Juniperus, it doesn't occur in Oregon. I imagine the juniper your husband uses for his furniture is Juniperus occidentalis (western juniper) which obtains a size large enough for furniture making. While J. ashei has many of the same attributes as J. occidentalis (e.g., strength and fragrance), it rarely becomes large enough to be used for furniture. However, it is commonly used as fence posts because of its strength and resistance to rotting. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries many people made their living as "cedar choppers" in Central Texas, sometimes living in their wagons and traveling place to place cutting junipers (or, as they are still called, cedars) for fence posts and other uses.

 


 

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