Juniper Junipems communis L.


The juniper is extremely adaptable to various climates and grows in most of Europe and a large part of Siberia. It grows in poorer, drier soils and thus may be found both on dry limestone slopes as well as in damp, acidic soils, both on lowland and on mountains. It requires ample light for good growth, however, and therefore generally grows in pastures, margins of woods, heaths and non-fertile soils. It occurs mostly as a shrub, less frequently in tree form, growing to a height of 10 metres. Its sharp, prickle-pointed leaves are slightly grooved, and have a whitish band on the upper surface. The juniper is a dioecious species, i.e. individual trees bear only male, or only female flowers. Inconspicuous, they are borne in the axils of the needles, maturing after two years into blue-black berry-like cones. The juniper is highly valued in forestry as a pioneer and to prevent soil erosion. In garden landscaping its dwarf forms are mainly used in rock gardens. The high quality wood is of little importance since the tree is of such small dimensions. The berries are used for flavouring gin and seasoning food.

Leaves: Sharply pointed with white band on the upper surface, 10—15 mm long, in whorls of three. Flowers: Male yellowish, 4 mm long, female greenish. Cone: Berry-like, ovoid, 5—8 mm across, blue-black.