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Common Juniper

Juniperus communis

Common Juniper

APPEARANCE

The common juniper is a short trailing shrub with needle-like gray-green leaves. They have bluish-grey berries that take two years to ripen.

RANGE & HABITAT

The common juniper is the only conifer found all over the Northern Hemisphere. It is found in Asia, Europe and North America. Junipers like dry open woods, gravely areas, stone outcrops and alpine mountain areas.

LIFE CYCLE

The common juniper begins to make seeds after its second growing season. The fruits stay on the tree for at least two years and each fruit contains three seeds. The fruit is generally spread in August when animals start eating it.

ANIMAL USES

American robins and black-capped chickadee eat the berries. Wild hoofed animals, like deer and sheep, eat the juniper sometimes.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The berries and the boughs were used to make tea to help colds, heart trouble and breathing problems and the boughs were used for cleaning and making houses smell better.

MODERN USES

Berries are used as flavouring for cooking spice and alcohols.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.fao.org

Photo: Nancy Turner