Juniperus chinensis L.

Chinese Juniper

A mostly conical tree to 20 m tall but there are many shrubby cultivars. Trunk often divided. Bark peeling in strips. Both scale and needle leaves usually present but needle leaves fewer or absent on old trees. Needle leaves in whorls of 3, 8-12 mm long, very prickly with two pale bands above. Scale leaves diamond-shaped, blunt, about 1.5 mm long with a prominent glandular depression. Plants mostly unisexual. Fruit 6-8 mm broad, lumpy and near-spherical, waxy blue, ripening to bluish-purple in the second year. Seeds 2-5.

Highly variable and generally grown as a range of colour and habit cultivars. The 'pfitzer' spreading cultivars often placed under this species are here treated under J. x media.

Japan, China, Himalaya.

Scale leaves with pale edges (not clearly visible on dried specimens); needle-leaves in 3's, usually present as occasional tufts at tips of branchlets; fruit sour-smelling, 6-8 mm wide, lumpy, small and extremely waxy blue in the first year; plants mostly unisexual. Juniperus thurifera L., Spanish Juniper, from Western Europe is rare in cultivation and similar to J. chinensis but with branchlets slender, 4-sided at the ends and the scale leaves spreading at the tips. A mature specimen may be seen at the Geelong Botanic Gardens in Victoria. Juniperus davurica Pall., Dahurian Juniper, a trailing shrub from E Asia is considered closely related to J. chinensis but with waxy brown fruits 5-6 mm wide and short, 5-9 mm long juvenile leaves mostly in opposite pairs dominating the foliage. It is listed in Australia only as the cultivars 'Expansa Aureospicata' and 'Expansa Variegata' which are probably best (and here) placed under J. chinensis.

NSW: Orange (Cook Park); Sydney (N Parramatta, Cumberland Hospital, 1 tree Riverside Drive Lawn c. 20 m tall). VIC: Footscray (Park); Geelong (Eastern Park, outside Bot. Gds); Kew (Willsmere Hospital, west side of nurses home); Smeaton ('Smeaton House').

Variegated Kaizuka ' ('Kaizuka Variegated'). A variegated version of 'Kaizuka'. Sport selected at the Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California c. 1965.


Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Cupressaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Juniperus chinensis 'Aurea'

Clear gold, especially in summer, becoming large eventually. Has both juvenile and adult foliage. Male clone originating as a branch sport in nursery of M. Young, Milford, Godaming, Surrey, England.

Vic: Emerald (Old Nobelius Nursery site specimens dated 1943 &1983 in National Herbarium of Victoria probably from this tree); Monbulk (Yamina Rare Plants Nsy).

Juniperus chinensis 'Blaauw'

Dense, upright with a few branches growing upwards at a wide angle to give a characteristic outline. Leaves clear blue-grey. Introduced from Japan by J. Blaauw & Co., Boskoop, Netherlands c. 1924.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Cloud'

See j. virginiana 'Blue Cloud'.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point'

Neat, conical, pointed, dense, foliage bluish. Origin America, listed in the Monrovia Nsy catalogue in 1973.

Juniperus chinensis 'Echiniformis'

Dwarf, compact, low, rounded, the small leaves blue above, grey-green below. Difficult to propagate. Formerly incorrectly listed under J. communis and J. oxycedrus. Origin unknown but introduced by S.J. Rinz Nsy, Frankfurt-am-main, Germany in 1979.

Juniperus chinensis 'Expansa Aureospicata'

Branches extremely flat, spreading and stiff, dense on the ground with extremely thin branchlets, needles yellowish variegated, both scale-like and needle-like. Sometimes listed under J. davurica. Probably originating in the Netherlands c. 1940.

Juniperus chinensis 'Expansa Variegata'

Densely distributed branches that are not so flat; needles bluish green with creamy spots. Sometimes listed under J. davurica. Early European cultivar.

Juniperus chinensis 'Globosa Cinerea'

Similar to 'Blaauw' but a broader, more rounded plant with weaker more widely spreading sideshoots. Originated UK c. 1923.

Juniperus chinensis 'Kaizuka'

Slow growing upright habit with leaves scale-like and dark green. Sometimes known as Hollywood Juniper as a result of its popularity in this part of California. Origin Japan c. 1939.

Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri'

Medium-sized, densely branched, columnar or conical, branches upright, short, thin, leaves scale-like, pointed, waxy blue. Female clone with large cones. Some specimens under this name may be 'Kaizuka' in Australia. Probably originated in Belgium at the nursery of Mr Keteleer, Brussels.

Juniperus chinensis 'Kuriwao Gold'

Barrel-shaped to about 1 m tall with golden foliage in the warmer months. Raised from seed collected from 'Keteleeri' by Ross Stuart of Clinton, South Otago, New Zealand at Ces. Wallis Nsy, Mosgiel. It was growing near a plant of 'Pfitzeriana Aurea' and introduced in 1975.

Juniperus chinensis 'Obelisk'

Medium-size, columnar, branches upright, leaves needle-like, erect, slightly bent, bluish, 2 white bands above. Introduced F.J. Grootendorst & Sons, Boskoop, Netherlands.

Juniperus chinensis 'Oblonga'

Roundish, semi-dwarf, erect part with bright green scale leaves, lower part with needle leaves. Originated Bobbink &Atkins Nsy, Rutherford, New Jersey, usa as a sport of 'Japonica'.

Juniperus chinensis 'Parsonsii'

(syn. J. davurica var. parsonsii Melle). Widespreading shrub. Foliage pale green to waxy, mostly juvenile except on main branches. Sent by Dr Hall to Parsons Nsy, Flushing, New York, usa in 1862.

Juniperus chinensis 'Plumosa Albovariegata'

Foliage flecked creamy white. Old cultivar originating in uk c. 1939.

Juniperus chinensis 'Plumosa Aurea'

Flattened bush with arching sprays. Leaves pale green in spring becoming bronzish in autumn. Originated uk c. 1923.

Juniperus chinensis 'Plumosa Aureovariegata'

Slow-growing with dark green foliage and deep yellow variegation. Originated uk c. 1939.

Juniperus chinensis 'Pyramidalis Nana'

Dwarf version of 'Pyramidalis'. Origin unknown.

Juniperus chinensis 'Pyramidalis'

Densely branched, narrowly columnar with upright branches, leaves needle-like, prickly, bluish. Japanese raised.

Juniperus chinensis 'Robusta Green'

Medium, slow-growing tree with upright branches and tufted blue-green foliage. Introduced Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California in 1973.

Juniperus chinensis 'Sea Green'

See j. x media 'Sea Green'.

Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan Variegated'

Variegated unstable variant of 'Spartan'. Origin unknown.

Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan'

Tall, narrowly conical, dense, clear green leaves. American raised and listed in catalogue of Monrovia Nsy, Azusa, California in 1961.

Juniperus chinensis 'Variegata'

Slow-growing, large conical bush with blue-green foliage, both adult and juvenile, flecked creamy white. Origin UK.

Vic: Maryborough (Phillips Gds) '

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Cupressaceae
genus       Juniperus L.