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Juniper (Juniperus)

  • Leaves can be either scale-like or needle like. These different needle forms are typically mixed on the same branch, but are sometimes separated by branch.
  • Juniper foliage is often prickly and sometimes sticky to the touch.
  • Fruits are leathery and look like small, hard berries. Northwest species turn blue when mature, but species outside this region sometimes turn red.
  • Tree has distinctive, strong odor.

Junipers are strange conifers indeed. Their fruits look like berries and their leaves may be either scale-like or needle-like. In fact, their fruits are round cones, but they're softer than most and they have a blue, red, or copper color. Junipers commonly bear male and female flowers on separate trees, so some trees bear fruit while others don't. Juniper foliage may be scale-like, needle-like, or both, and it often has a distinctive odor that can be smelled from quite a distance.

Three junipers are native to the Pacific Northwest:

western juniper: most common; combonation of needle types with a white resin dot.

common juniper: grows primarily near treeline, at high elevations.

Rocky Mountain juniper: found in north eastern Oregon; its needles do not have resin dots.

The Pacific Northwest's junipers do not typically grow together.

species page For more information on the junipers native to the Pacific Northwest, go to the species page or see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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