Juniperus communis L.

Common Juniper

A shrub or small tree rarely growing more than 5 m tall. Leaves all needle-like in whorls of 3 at a stem joint, the base not extending down the stem, 7-12 mm long, spreading, broad at the base and tapering to a pungent point, the upper surface with a single white band. Male and female cones axillary, borne singly and mostly on separate plants. Fruit 6-9 mm wide, waxy-blue, ripening to blue-black in the second year. Seeds 2-3.

Mostly montane in the wild.

Temperate Northern Hemisphere.

Gin is distilled from the berries.

Leaves all needle-like at a stem joint, the base not extending down the stem, less than 1.2 cm long, with a single band above and tapering gradually from the base.

SA: Mt Gambier (Bot. Gds); Penola (Yallum Park). NSW: Guyra (Church of St Columba); Mittagong (Public Library). ACT: Yarralumla (Nsy). VIC: Buninyong (cemetery); Castlemaine (Bot. Gds); Geelong (Bot. Gds); Warrnambool (Bot. Gds).

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 communis 'Compressa'

Slow-growing, dense, dwarf, conical, tip pointed, branches upright, leaves short, needle-like, pale green with a white band above. An early cultivar of unknown origin.

Juniperus communis 'Corielagen'

Mat-forming with leaves bronze below. Collected west coast of Scotland before 1975, introduced P. Foley, Bolton, Lancashire, UK.

Juniperus communis 'Depressa Aurea'

Dwarf with spreading branches, the main ones upright, needles yellow at the base of the branches and golden in spring, becoming coppery. Origin n America.

Juniperus communis 'Depressed Star'

Broad, flat habit with the branches upright, needles green. A low-growing selection of var. montana Ait. Probably originating from the Netherlands.

Juniperus communis 'Effusa'

Dwarf spreading shrub similar to 'Repanda' but with secondary branches upright. Leaves brown in winter. Possibly originated Doorn, Netherlands and introduced den Ouden &Son, Boskoop c. 1944.

Juniperus communis 'Gold Cone'

Similar to 'Hibernica' but foliage golden yellow. Introduced by the Kordes Nsy, Bilsen-Holstein, Germany.

Juniperus communis 'Green Carpet'

Slow-growing, low shrub. Foliage dark green in winter, paler in summer. Found by Mr Arne Bryne on cliff near Stavanger, Norway.

Juniperus communis 'Hibernica Nana'

Dwarf version of 'Hibernica'. Origin unknown.

Juniperus communis 'Hibernica'

Irish Juniper Medium sized, narrow conical to columnar, dense, branches erect (not drooping at the tips as in 'Suecica'), needles pointed but not prickly. Originating from UK.

NSW: Mt Tomah (Bot. Gds).

Juniperus communis 'Hornibrookii'

Dwarf, spreading flat on the ground with the tips slightly upturned, needles prickly with a white band above. Discovered by Hornibrook in County Galway, w Ireland.

Juniperus communis 'Nana'

An alternative name for the highly variable var. montana Aiton which comprises the low-growing forms.

Juniperus communis 'Repanda'

Prostrate, flat, spreading, forming a round clump. The branchlets are thin and dense, needles close together, curved slightly inwards, soft with a single white band above. Raised in Ireland.

Juniperus communis 'Suecica'

Medium sized, with a narrow, columnar, upright habit, the branch tips slightly drooping, needles blue-green and prickly. A clone of the wild variety from Scandinavia and E Russia.

Vic: Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds edge of Herb Garden).

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