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Rocky Mountain Juniper Juniperus scopulorum (Sabina scopulorum)


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Family: Cupressaceae, Cypress view all from this family

Description A long-lived species often surviving 250-300 years. Small perennial, evergreen grows as a shrub or tree. In the open, stubby and broadly pyramidal, branches to ground. Bark fibrous, thin, shreds with age. In shaded areas, the trunk less tapered. Foliage arranged in "weeping sprays". Shoots slender, 0.7-1.2 mm. diameter. Leaves arranged in opposite decussate pairs, occasionally in whorls of three. Adult leaves scale-like, 1-2 mm. long (to 5 mm on lead shoots) and 1-1.5 mm. broad. Juvenile leaves on young seedlings needle-like, 5-10 mm. long. Seed cones berry-like, globose to bilobed, 6-9 mm. in diameter, dark blue with a pale blue-white waxy bloom, contain two seeds, rarely one or three. Pollen cones 2-4 mm. long, shedding pollen in early spring. Dioecious, producing cones of only one sex on each tree.

Dimensions Height: 6-15 m. (20-50 ft.)
Diameter: 0.5 m. (1 1/2 ft.).

Habitat Canyons & valleys, Mountains.

Range Southwest, Western Canada, Plains, Texas, Northwest, Rocky Mountains.

Discussion Used for fence posts, cedar chests, pencils, and medicines. Plateau Indian tribes boiled the leaves and inner bark to treat coughs and fevers. Berries sometimes boiled and used as a laxative and to treat colds. Heartwood is decay resistant for cover, nesting, and food.