Juniperus L. Juniper

Shrubs with glaucous, subulate, stiff and pointed or scale-like leaves. Cone berry-like, small, composed of fleshy scales, blue when ripe (in the second year). Ovules 1 or 2 under each scale, erect.

About 30 species spread over the northern hemisphere.

Juniperus Communis L

A much-branched, evergreen shrub, often procumbent, but usually ascending, 2-4 feet high. Leaves in whorls of 3, linear, acicular, 10-15 mm.long ending in a prickly point, green above, glaucous beneath. Catkins very minute. Berries globular, purplish blue, as large as Bilberries when ripe (the second year).

Dry hillsides and mountain slopes up to the Alpine region. April, May.


Europe, Western and Northern Asia, N. Africa and N. America. British.

It passes insensibly into the variety montana Aiton (J. nana Willd.), which is always procumbent, with shorter imbricate leaves (4-8 mm.) and larger berries.

The variety is widely spread in the Alps from 5500-8200 feet, and very occasionally as high as 11,500 feet in Switzerland, which gives it the distinction of being the highest woody plant in Europe. Vaccari2 actually records it from 3500 m. (11,700 feet) on Monte Rosa. It flowers in June and July.


Alps, Carpathians, Jura, Auvergne, Pyrenees, Corsica, Cevennes; Arctic Europe and Asia, Himalaya, N. America, Algeria, rare in England. In Siberia the Juniper reaches lat. 690 (Henry Seebohm).

1 A. G. Tansley in The New Phytologist, vol. x (1911), p. 288.

2 Prof. Lino Vaccari, La Flora Nivale del Monte Rosa (1911), p. 27.

Juniperus Sabina L

Leaves like small rhomboid imbricated scales in 4 rows, or acicular, broadly subulate and spreading. Cone or 'berry' on a short recurved stalk, not so dark in colour as the other. Bark of the branches reddish brown.

Dry, stony places up to 8200 feet. Flowers in April and May.

It is a characteristic shrub of some of the hot Alpine valleys and Pine forests in the south of Switzerland.


Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura, Pyrenees, Caucasus, Siberia, N. America.