Oregon State University
Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

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western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis)

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  • Needles: Combination of scale-like and awl-like needles on most branches; back of each needle has a white or clear resin dot. Distinctive fragrance.

  • Fruit: Small, round, blue "berry" (actually a non-woody cone); leathery rather than woody.

  • Bark: Thin, reddish-brown, and fibrous or scaly.

  • Distribution: Native to mountain slopes and high plateaus of the Pacific Northwest. Found 500-10,000 ft. (3100 m) elevation.


common juniper (Juniperus communis)

  • Form: Grows primarily at high elevations. Has a matted growth form; grows only as a shrub in the Pacific Nortwest, but may grow upright in other regions of the world.

  • Needles: Has individual needle-like, sharp-pointed leaves about 1/2 inch long; no needles are scale-like.

  • Fruits: small, round, blue "berries" (actually a leathery cone)

  • Range: Although limited in Oregon, it has one of the widest distributions of any woody plant in the world.

Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

  • Resembles western juniper, except that its needles do not have resin dots.

  • Leaves: small, scale-like and pressed tightly to the twig; often blue or blue-gray.
  • Fruits: Small. blue "berries" (actually leathery cones).
  • Grows primarily in or near the Rocky Mountains.

For more information about these species, see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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