A tree ten to fifty feet high. Leaves: opposite in pairs, spiney-topped, closely appressed, imbricated, four-ranked, acute. Fruit: berry-like cones, glaucous, borne on straight peduncle-like branchlets.
This is the Juniper Tree of the West, whose branches appear quadrangular owing to the flattened manner in which the four-ranked leaves grow on the twigs. The berry-like cones are bright blue, sweet, and covered with a whitish bloom.
Juniperus horizontalis, or Creeping Juniper, is a depressed, and usually procumbent shrub, seldom growing more than three feet high. Its leaves are similar to those of the Rocky Mountain Juniper, and its fruit is a blue berry-like cone, containing one to four seeds, whereas the preceding species is only one to two seeded.
Juniperus communis var. montana, or Alpine Juniper, is a very depressed, almost prostrate species of Juniper, which forms on the ground large circular patches that sometimes extend to ten feet in diameter. It grows at extremely high altitudes, and is one of the last signs of vegetation encountered near the tree-line. The leaves, which densely cover the branches, are channelled, and sometimes whitened on the surface; they are set in verticils of three on the twigs. The cones are berry-like, being rounded, smooth, and dark blue.