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Juniperus communis var. saxatilis

Juniperus communis L. var. saxatilis Pall.

Common juniper, Dwarf juniper

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)



USDA Native Status:

A very low, spreading shrub, 1-3 ft. tall and 6 or more ft. across. The rigid, steely, blue-gray needles are short-pointed. Berries are bright blue with a white bloom.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable


Canada: NS , PE
Native Distribution: Greenland to AK, s. to Nf. & mts. of Que., n. ME, CO & CA
Native Habitat: Stony, open or lightly wooded slopes; often at high elevations

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Exposed, rocky places.
Conditions Comments: The species J. communis is most widely distributed native conifer in the world. Extremely hardy and adaptable to diverse soil and climatic conditions. Susceptible to juniper blight.


Use Wildlife: Valuable wildlife habitat & 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


Description: This species propatates readily from heel cuttings. Hormone treatment improves rooting. Propagation is also possible by seed, which matures the second or third year after pollination. Seed can be sown outdoors in fall or stratified and sown in spring.
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

Additional resources

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


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

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