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Common Juniper
Juniperus communis
About Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) Nurseries Show All Photos Juniperus communis, Dwarf or Common Juniper, is a species in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has the largest range of any woody plant, throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia. It is found in the understory of forests and woodlands, and also beyond the northern limit of trees. In California it is found in the Sierras and in Del Norte and Siskyou Counties. It is a shrub or small tree, highly variable and usually a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 meter tall. Common Juniper has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4-12 millimeter diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2-3 millimeter long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in March-April.

Dwarf Juniper makes an attractive accent in woodland gardens. Although it is native to higher elevations, it appears to accept lower elevation as long as adequate water is provided.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree, Shrub

Max. Height
5 - 32.8 ft (1.5 - 10 m)

Max. Width
8 ft (2.4 m)

Upright, Spreading

Growth Rate


Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky or wooded slopes

Part Shade

Elevation ?
4' - 12105'

Annual Precip. ?
13.0" - 156.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.19" - 6.33"

Coldest Month ?
15.0° F - 56.6° F

Hottest Month ?
37.7° F - 73.7° F

Humidity ?
0.26 vpd - 19.03 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers somewhat acidic forest soils

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.6


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Sunset Zones ?
1*, 2*, 3*, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 14, 15*, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Can be tip pruned at any time to control its spread

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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