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Juniperus occidentalis (Western juniper)
Reveal, James L.

Juniperus occidentalis

Juniperus occidentalis Hook.

Western Juniper

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Juniperus californica var. siskiyouensis, Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis, Sabina occidentalis


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Western Juniper is a 30-100 ft., evergreen tree with a massive, squat trunk; large, wide-spreading branches; and reddish-brown, shreddy bark. Foliage is gray-green and berries are blue-black at maturity. Younger specimens are more trim and erect than their mature counterparts, with paler green foliage.

Western Juniper is common at high altitudes in the Sierra Nevada. Giants reach a trunk diameter of 16' (5 m) and an estimated age of more than 2000 years. This species may develop thick, long roots that entwine rock outcrops, mimicking the shape of the branches.


From the Image Gallery

11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: CA , ID , NV , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Mts. from c. & s.e. WA, to CA, s.e. ID & NV
Native Habitat: Dry slopes & flats from 3000-10,500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Trees often grow from cracks in the solid granite of higher mts. and become picturesque specimens. In favorable conditions, trees may attain a diameter of 25 ft. and an estimated age of 3000 years.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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