Juniperus communis

Juniperus communis.

Division Pinophyta > Order Pinales > Family Cupressaceae.

The dwarf or common juniper.

It can grow as a tree up to 10 m or as an upright or prostrate shrub.
Red-brown bark peels off in strips.

The spreading leaves, in whorls of 3, are needle-shaped, slightly curved with a sharp pointed tip.
It only has the one type of leaf.
Leaves have a white band of pores (stomata) along the upper or inner surface for the exchange of gasses.

Male and female cones are on separate plants.
The small, yellow male cones are 2 to 3 mm long.

The female cones have 3 or 6 cone scales but these fuse and become fleshy, resembling a berry.
They are spherical or ovoid, up to 12 mm, with three seeds 4 to 5 mm long.
Initially green they ripen over 18 to 24 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating.

There are numerous subspecies and varieties.