Juniper

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Juniper
Juniperus osteosperma 1.jpg
Juniperus osteosperma in Nevada, United States
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Cupressoideae
Genus:Juniperus
L.
Subgenera and species

See text

Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus /ˈnɪpərəs/ [1] of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, between 50 and 67 species of junipers are widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa, from Ziarat, Pakistan, east to eastern Tibet in the Old World, and in the mountains of Central America. The highest-known juniper forest occurs at an altitude of 16,000 ft (4,900 m) in southeastern Tibet and the northern Himalayas, creating one of the highest tree-lines on earth. [2]

Cupressaceae family of plants

Cupressaceae is a conifer family, the cypress family, with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27–30 genera, which include the junipers and redwoods, with about 130–140 species in total. They are monoecious, subdioecious or (rarely) dioecious trees and shrubs up to 116 m (381 ft) tall. The bark of mature trees is commonly orange- to red- brown and of stringy texture, often flaking or peeling in vertical strips, but smooth, scaly or hard and square-cracked in some species.

Arctic polar region on the Earths northern hemisphere

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Northern Canada, Norway, Russia and Sweden. Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover, with predominantly treeless permafrost -containing tundra. Arctic seas contain seasonal sea ice in many places.

Africa The second largest and second most-populous continent, mostly in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Contents

Description

Cones and leaves of Juniperus communis Jun com cones.jpg
Cones and leaves of Juniperus communis

Junipers vary in size and shape from tall trees, 20–40 m (66–131 ft) tall, to columnar or low-spreading shrubs with long, trailing branches. They are evergreen with needle-like and/or scale-like leaves. They can be either monoecious or dioecious. The female seed cones are very distinctive, with fleshy, fruit-like coalescing scales which fuse together to form a "berry"-like structure, 4–27 mm (0.16–1.06 in) long, with one to 12 unwinged, hard-shelled seeds. In some species, these "berries" are red-brown or orange, but in most they are blue; they are often aromatic and can be used as a spice. The seed maturation time varies between species from 6 to 18 months after pollination. The male cones are similar to those of other Cupressaceae, with six to 20 scales.

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.

Shrub type of plant

A shrub or bush is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height, less than 6 m-10 m (20 ft–33 ft) tall. Small shrubs, less than 2 m (6.6 ft) tall are sometimes termed subshrubs.

Evergreen plant that has leaves in all four seasons

In botany, an evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year that are always green. This is true even if the plant retains its foliage only in warm climates, and contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season. There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs. Evergreens include:

In zones 7 through 10, junipers can bloom and release pollen several times each year. A few species of junipers bloom in autumn, while most species pollinate from early winter until late spring. [3]

Hardiness zone Geographical regions defined by climatic conditions for horticultural purposes

A hardiness zone is a geographic area defined to encompass a certain range of climatic conditions relevant to plant growth and survival.

Detail of Juniperus chinensis shoots, with juvenile (needle-like) leaves (left), and adult scale leaves and immature male cones (right) Jun chin close.jpg
Detail of Juniperus chinensis shoots, with juvenile (needle-like) leaves (left), and adult scale leaves and immature male cones (right)

Many junipers (e.g. J. chinensis, J. virginiana) have two types of leaves; seedlings and some twigs of older trees have needle-like leaves 5–25 mm (0.20–0.98 in) long, and the leaves on mature plants are (mostly) tiny (2–4 mm (0.079–0.157 in)), overlapping, and scale-like. When juvenile foliage occurs on mature plants, it is most often found on shaded shoots, with adult foliage in full sunlight. Leaves on fast-growing 'whip' shoots are often intermediate between juvenile and adult.

In some species (e. g. J. communis, J. squamata), all the foliage is of the juvenile needle-like type, with no scale leaves. In some of these (e.g. J. communis), the needles are jointed at the base, in others (e.g. J. squamata), the needles merge smoothly with the stem, not jointed.

The needle-leaves of junipers are hard and sharp, making the juvenile foliage very prickly to handle. This can be a valuable identification feature in seedlings, as the otherwise very similar juvenile foliage of cypresses ( Cupressus, Chamaecyparis ) and other related genera is soft and not prickly.

<i>Cupressus</i> genus of plants

Cupressus is one of several genera within the family Cupressaceae that have the common name cypress; for the others, see cypress. It is considered a polyphyletic group. Based on genetic and morphological analysis, the genus Cupressus is found in the subfamily Cupressoideae. The common name comes from Old French cipres and that from Latin cyparissus, which is the latinisation of the Greek κυπάρισσος (kypárissos).

<i>Chamaecyparis</i> genus of plants

Chamaecyparis, common names cypress or false cypress, is a genus of conifers in the cypress family Cupressaceae, native to eastern Asia and to the western and eastern margins of the United States. The name is derived from the Greek khamai, meaning ground, and kuparissos for cypress.

Juniper is the exclusive food plant of the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Bucculatrix inusitata and juniper carpet, and is also eaten by the larvae of other Lepidoptera species such as Chionodes electella , Chionodes viduella , juniper pug, and pine beauty; those of the tortrix moth C. duplicana feed on the bark around injuries or canker.

Larva juvenile form of distinct animals before metamorphosis

A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle.

Lepidoptera Order of insects including moths and butterflies

Lepidoptera is an order of insects that includes butterflies and moths. About 180,000 species of the Lepidoptera are described, in 126 families and 46 superfamilies, 10 per cent of the total described species of living organisms. It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world. The Lepidoptera show many variations of the basic body structure that have evolved to gain advantages in lifestyle and distribution. Recent estimates suggest the order may have more species than earlier thought, and is among the four most speciose orders, along with the Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera.

Bucculatrix inusitata is a moth in the Bucculatricidae family. It is found in North America, where it has been recorded from Quebec, Ontario, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

Junipers are gymnosperms, which means they have seeds, but no flowers or fruits. Depending on the species, the seeds they produce take 1–3 years to develop. The impermeable coat of the seed keeps water from getting in and protects the embryo when being dispersed. It can also result in a long dormancy that is usually broken by physically damaging the seed coat. Dispersal can occur from being swallowed whole by frugivores and mammals. The resistance of the seed coat allows it to be passed down through the digestive system and out without being destroyed along the way. These seeds last a long time, as they can be dispersed long distances over the course of a few years. [4]

Gymnosperm group of plants, at a varying rank

The gymnosperms, also known as Acrogymnospermae, are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and gnetophytes. The term "gymnosperm" comes from the composite word in Greek: γυμνόσπερμος, literally meaning "naked seeds". The name is based on the unenclosed condition of their seeds. The non-encased condition of their seeds contrasts with the seeds and ovules of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scales or leaves, which are often modified to form cones, or solitary as in Yew, Torreya, Ginkgo.

Seed embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering

A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants, the spermatophytes, including the gymnosperm and angiosperm plants.

Dormancy state of minimized physical activity of an organism

Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle when growth, development, and physical activity are temporarily stopped. This minimizes metabolic activity and therefore helps an organism to conserve energy. Dormancy tends to be closely associated with environmental conditions. Organisms can synchronize entry to a dormant phase with their environment through predictive or consequential means. Predictive dormancy occurs when an organism enters a dormant phase before the onset of adverse conditions. For example, photoperiod and decreasing temperature are used by many plants to predict the onset of winter. Consequential dormancy occurs when organisms enter a dormant phase after adverse conditions have arisen. This is commonly found in areas with an unpredictable climate. While very sudden changes in conditions may lead to a high mortality rate among animals relying on consequential dormancy, its use can be advantageous, as organisms remain active longer and are therefore able to make greater use of available resources.

Classification

Juniper needles, magnified. Left, Juniperus communis (Juniperus sect. Juniperus, needles 'jointed' at base). Right, Juniperus chinensis (Juniperus sect. Sabina, needles merging smoothly with the stem, not jointed at base) Juniper needles.jpg
Juniper needles, magnified. Left, Juniperus communis (Juniperus sect. Juniperus, needles 'jointed' at base). Right, Juniperus chinensis (Juniperus sect. Sabina, needles merging smoothly with the stem, not jointed at base)
Cones and seeds Juniperseeds.jpg
Cones and seeds

The number of juniper species is in dispute, with two recent studies giving very different totals, Farjon (2001) accepting 52 species, and Adams (2004) accepting 67 species. The junipers are divided into several sections, though (particularly among the scale-leaved species) which species belong to which sections is still far from clear, with research still on-going. The section Juniperus is an obvious monophyletic group though.[ citation needed ]

Juniperus sect. Juniperus: Needle-leaf junipers. The adult leaves are needle-like, in whorls of three, and jointed at the base (see below right).

Juniperus sect. Sabina: Scale-leaf junipers. The adult leaves are mostly scale-like, similar to those of Cupressus species, in opposite pairs or whorls of three, and the juvenile needle-like leaves are not jointed at the base (including in the few that have only needle-like leaves; see below right). Provisionally, all the other junipers are included here, though they form a paraphyletic group.

Avenue of J. chinensis SabinaChinensis.jpg
Avenue of J. chinensis
Juniperus phoenicea on El Hierro, Canary Islands El Hierro Sabinar.JPG
Juniperus phoenicea on El Hierro, Canary Islands

New World species

Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, eastern Sierra Nevada, Rock Creek Canyon, California JuniperRockCreek.JPG
Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, eastern Sierra Nevada, Rock Creek Canyon, California
Juniperus virginiana in October laden with ripe cones Juniper berries q.jpg
Juniperus virginiana in October laden with ripe cones

Ecology

Juniper plants thrive in a variety of environments. The junipers from Lahaul valley can be found in dry, rocky locations planted in stony soils. These plants are being rapidly used up by grazing animals and the villagers. There are several important features of the leaves and wood of this plant that cause villagers to cut down these trees and make use of them. [6] Additionally, the western juniper plants, a particular species in the juniper genus, are found in woodlands where there are large, open spaces. Junipers are known to encompass open areas so that they have more exposure to rainfall. [4] Decreases in fires and a lack of livestock grazing are the two major causes of western juniper takeover. This invasion of junipers is driving changes in the environment. For instance, the ecosystem for other species previously living in the environment and farm animals has been compromised. [7] When junipers increase in population, there is a noticeable decrease in woody species like mountain big sagebrush and aspen. Among the juniper trees themselves, there is a lot of competition. The cost of this is a decrease in berry production. [8] The herbaceous cover has decreased and oftentimes junipers are mistaken to be weeds. As a result, several farmers have thinned the juniper trees or removed them completely. However, this reduction did not result in any significant difference on wildlife survival. Some small mammals found it advantageous to have thinner juniper trees, while cutting down the entire tree was not favorable. [9] [10]

Cultivation and uses

Juniperus communis wood pieces, with a U.S. penny for scale, showing the narrow growth rings of the species Juniper wood pieces and 1 cent coin.jpg
Juniperus communis wood pieces, with a U.S. penny for scale, showing the narrow growth rings of the species
Plymouth Gin factory, UK 2008-06-18 GreatBritain Plymouth GinFactory.jpg
Plymouth Gin factory, UK

Some junipers are susceptible to Gymnosporangium rust disease, and can be a serious problem for those people growing apple trees, the alternate host of the disease.

Timber

Some junipers are given the common name "cedar," including Juniperus virginiana , the "red cedar" that is used widely in cedar drawers. "Eastern redcedar" is the correct name for J. virginiana. The lack of space between the words "red" and "cedar" indicates that this species is not a true cedar, Cedrus .

Juniper in weave is a traditional cladding technique used in Northern Europe, e.g. at Havrå, Norway. [11]

Culinary use

Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and responsible for gin's name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, jenever). A juniper based spirit is made by fermenting juniper berries and water to create a "wine" that is then distilled. This is often sold as a juniper brandy in eastern Europe. Juniper berries are also used as the primary flavor in the liquor Jenever and sahti-style of beers. Juniper berry sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail, pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison, and other game dishes.

Essential oil

Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and scopulorum) essential oil JuniperEssentialOil.png
Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and scopulorum) essential oil

Juniper berries are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that may vary from colorless to yellow or pale green. [12] Some of its chemical components are terpenoids and aromatic compounds, such as cadinene, a sesquiterpene. [13]

Ethnic and herbal use

Most species of juniper are flexible and have high compression strength-to-weight ratio. For these reasons, it is useful for making bows and arrows, as seen among Native American ethnic groups of the Great Basin region. [14] Juniper staves are typically backed with sinew provide tension strength that the wood lacks. Sinew-backed juniper bows are among the fastest, most flexible and hardest-hitting bows made of wood.[ citation needed ]

Some Indigenous peoples of the Americas use juniper in traditional medicine; for instance the Dineh, who use it for diabetes. [15] Juniper ash was consumed as a source of calcium by the Navajo people. [16] [17]

Juniper has been traditionally used in Scottish folkloric and Gaelic Polytheist saining rites, such as those performed at Hogmanay (New Year), where the smoke of burning juniper is used to cleanse, bless, and protect the household and its inhabitants. [18]

Wood and leaves

Local people in Lahaul Valley present juniper leaves to their deities as a folk tradition. It is also useful as a folk remedy for pains and aches as well as epilepsy and asthma. They are reported to collect large amounts of juniper leaves and wood for building and religious purposes. [6]

Ornamental use

Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Gold Coast' Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Gold Coast' 03.jpg
Juniperus × pfitzeriana ‘Gold Coast’

Junipers are among the most popular conifers to be cultivated as ornamental subjects for parks and gardens. They have been bred over many years to produce a wide range of forms, in terms of colour, shape and size. They include some of the dwarfest (miniature) cultivars. They are also used for bonsai. Species found in cultivation include:-

  • J. chinensis
  • J. communis
  • J. horizontalis
  • J. × pfitzeriana
  • J. procumbens
  • J. rigida
  • J. scapulorum
  • J. squamata

Allergenic potential

In drier areas, juniper pollen easily becomes airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs. This pollen can also irritate the skin and cause contact dermatitis. Cross-allergenic reactions are common between juniper pollen and the pollen of all species of cypress. [3]

Monoecious juniper plants are highly allergenic, with an OPALS allergy scale rating of 9 out of 10. Completely male juniper plants have an OPALS rating of 10, and release abundant amounts of pollen. Conversely, all-female juniper plants have an OPALS rating of 1, and are considered "allergy-fighting". [3]

Related Research Articles

<i>Juniperus communis</i> species of plant

Juniperus communis, the common juniper, is a species of conifer in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has the largest geographical range of any woody plant, with a circumpolar distribution throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30°N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia. Relict populations can be found in the Atlas Mountains of Africa.

<i>Juniperus virginiana</i> species of plant

Juniperus virginiana, known as red cedar, eastern redcedar, Virginian juniper, eastern juniper, red juniper, pencil cedar, and aromatic cedar, is a species of juniper native to eastern North America from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Great Plains. Further west it is replaced by the related Juniperus scopulorum and to the southwest by Juniperus ashei.

<i>Juniperus oxycedrus</i> species of plant

Juniperus oxycedrus, vernacularly called Cade, cade juniper, prickly juniper, prickly cedar, or sharp cedar, is a species of juniper, native across the Mediterranean region from Morocco and Portugal, north to southern France, east to westernmost Iran, and south to Lebanon and Israel, growing on a variety of rocky sites from sea level up to 1600 m elevation. The specific epithet oxycedrus means "sharp cedar" and this species may have been the original cedar or cedrus of the ancient Greeks.

<i>Juniperus excelsa</i> species of plant

Juniperus excelsa, commonly called the Greek juniper, is a juniper found throughout the eastern Mediterranean, from northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria across Turkey to Syria and Lebanon, Jordan and the Caucasus mountains.

<i>Juniperus drupacea</i> species of plant

Juniperus drupacea, the Syrian juniper, is a species of juniper native to the eastern Mediterranean region from southern Greece, southern Turkey, western Syria, and Lebanon, growing on rocky sites from 800–1700 m altitude.

<i>Juniperus scopulorum</i> species of plant

Juniperus scopulorum, the Rocky Mountain juniper, is a species of juniper native to western North America, in Canada in British Columbia and southwest Alberta, in the United States from Washington east to North Dakota, south to Arizona and also locally western Texas, and northernmost Mexico from Sonora east to Coahuila. It grows at altitudes of 500–2,700 metres (1,600–8,900 ft) on dry soils, often together with other juniper species. "Scopulorum" means "of the mountains.

<i>Juniperus sabina</i> species of plant

Juniperus sabina, the savin juniper or savin, is a species of juniper native to the mountains of central and southern Europe and western and central Asia, from Spain to eastern Siberia, typically growing at altitudes of 1,000-3,300 m ASL.

<i>Juniperus thurifera</i> species of plant

Juniperus thurifera is a species of juniper native to the mountains of the western Mediterranean region, from southern France across eastern and central Spain to Morocco and locally in northern Algeria.

<i>Juniperus squamata</i> species of plant

Juniperus squamata is a species of juniper native to the Himalayas and China, from northeastern Afghanistan east to western Yunnan in southwestern China, and with disjunct populations north to western Gansu and east to Fujian. It grows at 1,600-4,900 m altitude. It represents the provincial tree of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (unofficial).

<i>Juniperus cedrus</i> species of plant

Juniperus cedrus, the Canary Islands juniper, is a species of juniper, native to the western Canary Islands and Madeira, where it occurs at altitudes of 500–2400 m. It is closely related to Juniperus oxycedrus of the Mediterranean region and Juniperus brevifolia of the Azores.

<i>Juniperus deppeana</i> species of plant

Juniperus deppeana is a small to medium-sized tree reaching 10–15 m tall. It is native to central and northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It grows at moderate altitudes of 750–2,700 meters (2,460–8,860 ft) on dry soils.

<i>Juniperus phoenicea</i> species of plant

Juniperus phoenicea, the Phoenicean juniper or Arâr, is a juniper found throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Italy, Turkey and Egypt, south on the mountains of Lebanon, the Palestine region and in western Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea, and also on Madeira and the Canary Islands. It mostly grows at low altitudes close to the coast, but reaches 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) altitude in the south of its range in the Atlas Mountains. It is the vegetable symbol of the island of El Hierro.

<i>Juniperus foetidissima</i> species of plant

Juniperus foetidissima, with common names foetid juniper or stinking juniper, is a juniper tree species in the Cupressaceae family.

<i>Juniperus brevifolia</i> species of plant

Juniperus brevifolia, the Azores juniper, is a species of juniper, endemic to the Azores, where it occurs at altitudes of 240–800 m, rarely up to 1,500 m. It is closely related to Juniperus oxycedrus of the Mediterranean region and Juniperus cedrus of the Canary Islands. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Juniperus przewalskii is a species of juniper native to the mountains of western China in Gansu, Qinghai, and northernmost Sichuan, growing at altitudes of 1,000-3,300 m.

Juniperus pseudosabina, the Turkestan juniper or dwarf black juniper, is a species of juniper.

<i>Juniperus rigida</i> species of plant

Juniperus rigida, the temple juniper, is a species of juniper, native to northern China, Korea, Japan, and the far southeast of Russia, occurring at altitudes of 10-2,200 m. The species is also naturalized in California and Alabama. It is closely related to Juniperus communis and Juniperus conferta, the latter sometimes treated as a variety or subspecies of J. rigida.

<i>Juniperus semiglobosa</i> species of plant

Juniperus semiglobosa is a species of juniper native to the mountains of Central Asia, in northeastern Afghanistan, westernmost China (Xinjiang), northern Pakistan, southeastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, western Nepal, northern Republic of India, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It grows at altitudes of 1,550–4,350 metres (5,090–14,270 ft) .

<i>Juniperus tibetica</i> species of plant

Juniperus tibetica is a species of juniper, native to western China in southern Gansu, southeastern Qinghai, Sichuan, and Tibet, where it grows at high to very high altitudes of 2,600–4,800 metres (8,500–15,700 ft). This species may possess the highest elevation treeline in the world.

<i>Juniperus macrocarpa</i> species of plant

Juniperus macrocarpa is a species of juniper, native across the northern Mediterranean region from southwestern Spain east to western Turkey and Cyprus, growing on coastal sand dunes from sea level up to 75 m altitude.

References

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Further reading