Juniperus virginiana L.

Pencil Juniper

Conical to narrow-conical tree about 10 m tall in cultivation with very slender branchlets, the terminal ones less than 1 mm long, some cultivars shrubby. Leaves mostly scale-like. Needle leaves 5-6 mm long, in pairs, spreading and pointed with one white band on the upper surface, sometimes absent. Scale leaves c. 1 mm long. Male and female plants usually separate. Fruit 3-5 mm wide, spherical to ovoid, ripening in the first year to a waxy purplish brown. Seeds 1-2.

Grows naturally on coastal limestone rocky slopes.

E & C N America.

Sometimes appearing similar to J. chinensis but mostly unisexual; sprays with pleasant soapy smell when crushed, often tufted with needle leaves at the tips; fruits small, 3-5 mm wide, pale waxy purplish brown, ripening in the first year. Habit sometimes similar to Cupressus torulosa. Characters highly variable in cultivars.

NSW: Bowral (Anglican Church, large tree); Orange (Robertson Park). VIC: Ballarat (Lake Wendouree Parkland); Bendigo (White Hills Bot. Gds); Castlemaine (Bot. Gds); Maryborough (Bot. Gds); Parkville (Melbourne University Botany Department Systems Garden); Sale (Botanic Reserve). ACT: Westbourne Woods. TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian 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 virginiana 'Blue Cloud'

A broad bush with waxy grey foliage. An alleged hybrid raised from seed of J. virginiana 'Glauca' with J. xmedia 'Pfitzeriana' as pollen parent and originating from the Netherlands.

Juniperus virginiana 'Burkii'

Burk Red Cedar. Narrow, dense, fastigiate; leaves both needle- and scale-like, blue. Origin USA c. 1930.

Juniperus virginiana 'Canaertii'

Medium large, narrow, columnar to conical, dense, branches upright, leaves scale-like on shoot tips, needle-like on older inner shoots, dark green. Fruits small and white. Origin Belgium, located by Canaert d'Hamale at Mechelen.

Juniperus virginiana 'Cupressifolia'

Conical shrub with leaves pale green and cypress-like. Origin D. Hill Nsy, Dundee, Illinois, USA c. 1946 and known as 'Hillspire' in USA.

Juniperus virginiana 'Grey Owl'

Spreading bush like J. xmedia 'Pfitzeriana' with the branch tips narrow and spreading, waxy blue. Raised from seed of 'Glauca' in 1938 in nursery of Caam Bros, Oudenbosch, Netherlands: distributed Grootendorst, Boskoop in 1949.

Juniperus virginiana 'Hetz'

('Hetzii') Medium-sized with spreading, fine branches dense with branchlets, leaves pale waxy blue, mostly scale-like but with a few juveniles near the centre. Often listed under J. chinensis but probably better placed here. A possible hybrid originating from Fairview Evergreen Nsy, Fairview, Pennsylvania, 1920.

Juniperus virginiana 'Horizontalis Glauca'

A synonym for J. horizontalis 'Glauca' which is the group name for variants of a prostrate blue-leaved shrub with the branch tips upturned. 'Pendula' a name acting as a group name for a range of pendulous forms.

Juniperus virginiana 'Silver Spreader'

Low-growing, widespreading groundcover with silvery grey foliage. Raised from a seedling obtained by Monrovia nurseries, Azusa, California, USA c. 1954.

Juniperus virginiana 'Sulphur Spray'

A yellowish colour variant of 'Hetz'. Origin unknown.

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