Rocky Mountain Juniper


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide


ROCKY MOUNTAIN JUNIPER
juniperus scopulorum
  • The Rocky Mountain Juniper's other common names: Western Juniper, Rocky Mountain Red Cedar

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • Rocky Mountain Juniper often develop massed outgrowths of branches called Witches' Brooms
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper is the only juniper that grows to tree size
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper is a shrubby tree with an irregularly rounded, wide, knotty and twisted trunk

LOCATION:

  • Rocky Mountain Juniper appear mainly in southern British Columbia but can be found scattered throughout the province
  • favours dry rocky or sandy soils
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper is found in moist rocky canyon bottoms, on dry, rocky southern facing ridges, along lake and stream shores

SIZE:

  • Rocky Mountain Juniper can reach 13 metres in height

CONES:

  • rounded, small, fleshy and berry-like
  • found at the end of the branches
  • green when young, bright to dark blue with a whitish bloom when mature
  • have a gin fragrance
  • ripen in second season, so can sometimes observe two generations of cones on the same tree

Rmjuniper.Gif

NEEDLES/LEAVES:

  • scale-like
  • appear in pairs, overlapping
  • pale, yellowish green when young, greyish-green when mature

BARK:

  • reddish-brown
  • narrow, flat ridges broken into thin, shredded stringy strips

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • reddish colour
  • hard and durable
  • fine grained, often knotty
  • distinctive odor

USES:

  • modern - carving, cooking, berries from certain species flavour gin
  • traditional - wood: bows, clubs, spoons, carving; boughs: disinfectant, air freshener, in sweat houses, smoking hides; berries: tea, cooking

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Rocky Mountain Juniper