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.
- 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.
The majority of species are in this section.