Division Pinophyta > Order Pinales > Family Cupressaceae.

Depending on the classification there are about 50 to 70 species.
Evergreen trees up to 40 m high or shrubs.

Juvenile leaves are hard, needle-like, up to 25 mm long with sharp tips.
Adult leaves are like overlapping scales 2 to 4 mm long.
Most junipers have both types of leaves; some only have juvenile ones e.g. J. communis.

Male and female cones can be on the same or different plants.
Male cones are up to 4 mm long with up to 20 scales.

In the female cones the scales fuse and become fleshy to form a ‘berry’.
These are up to 25 mm long, green but maturing over 1 to 2 years to a blue colour but some are red-brown or orange.
Each holds from 1 to 12 wingless seeds in a hard covering.

The junipers can be divided into sections and sub-sections.

  1. Needle-like adult leaves in whorls of 3 with jointed bases. (About a dozen species.)
    • Cones with 3 separate seeds, leaves with 1 band.
    • Cones with 3 separate seeds and leaves with 2 bands.
    • Cones with 3 seeds that fuse together; leaves with 2 bands.

  2. Scale-like adult leaves in whorls of 3 or opposite pairs; juvenile leaves not jointed.
    The majority of species are in this section.