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Overview

Brief Summary

Juniperus (the junipers) is a genus of 50–67 and 34 varieties species of evergreen coniferous trees and shrubs in the Cupressaceae (cypress family), widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the mountains of Central America, with one species (J. procera) in east Africa extending into the southern hemisphere. Juniperus is the second most diverse genus of conifers. Hundreds of horticultural cultivars have been developed for ornamental use worldwide, and the berry-like cones are used to flavor gin.

Junipers vary in size and shape from trees, 20–40 m tall, to columnar or low-spreading shrubs with long, trailing branches. They are evergreen with needle-like and/or scale-like leaves. They can be either monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant) or dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). The female seed cones are very distinctive, with fleshy, fruit-like coalescing scales which fuse together to form a berry-like structure, 4–27 mm long, with 1-12 unwinged, hard-shelled seeds. In some species these "berries" are red-brown or orange but in most they are blue; they are often aromatic and can be used as a spice.

Juniper berries are used as a flavoring in diverse culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and responsible for gin's name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, genever). Juniper berry sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail, pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison and other meat dishes. The leaves and berries can also be used to make tea.

Many early prehistoric people lived in or near juniper forests which furnished them food, fuel, and wood for shelter or utensils. Some species are used extensively in landscaping and horticulture. For example, J. chinensis (Chinese juniper) from eastern Asia is a widely-planted ornamental and is as one of the most popular species used in bonsai. It is also a symbol of longevity, strength, athleticism, and fertility.

Junipers grow in habitats ranging from limestone outcrops to sand dunes, sandstone, and granite, but may also occur in bogs. Seed dispersal is generally by frugiverous birds, as passage through a bird gut helps break down the hard seed coat and promotes germination. In North America, junipers have become weedy and have invaded millions of acres of abandoned agricultural land; the present distribution is broader and extends farther north than it did prior to European settlement.

In many semiarid regions, including the western U.S., northern Mexico and central to southwest Asia, Juniper species form the dominant tree cover on large areas. J. communis, common juniper, is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, and is the single most widespread conifer species.

Some juniper trees are misleadingly given the common name "cedar," including J. virginiana, the "eastern red-cedar" of North America, the aromatic wood of which is widely used to make moth-repelling cedar drawers, drawer liners, and shelving. However, true cedars are those tree species in the genus Cedrus, family Pinaceae.

(Adams 2008, Gymnosperm Database 2011, Wikipedia 2011)

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Comprehensive Description

Description

Evergreen shrubs or trees, dioecious or monoecious. Mature leaves decussate, appressed, imbricate and small; juvenile leaves subulate and spreading.  Male cones of several scales bearing 2-6 pollen-sacs. Female cones fleshy, berry-like and indehiscent; scales fleshy, swollen and fused. Seeds 1-few.
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Distribution

Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Juniperus L.:
United States (North America)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

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Ecology

Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
superficial hysterothecium of Actidium nitidum is saprobic on dead bark of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 10-2
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
Armillaria mellea s.l. infects and damages Juniperus

Fungus / saprobe
erumpent pycnidium of Camarosporium coelomycetous anamorph of Camarosporium pini is saprobic on fallen cone of Juniperus

Foodplant / sap sucker
Carulaspis juniperi sucks sap of live Juniperus

Foodplant / sap sucker
Cinara fresai sucks sap of live foliage of Juniperus

Foodplant / sap sucker
Cinara juniperi sucks sap of live foliage of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, numerous, gregarious pycnidium of Coleophoma coelomycetous anamorph of Coleophoma cylindrospora is saprobic on dead leaf of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 4-5

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Coniophora arida is saprobic on decayed wood of Juniperus

Foodplant / web feeder
caterpillar of Dichomeris marginella feeds from web on live leaf of Juniperus

Fungus / saprobe
superficial conidioma of Fujimyces coelomycetous anamorph of Fujimyces o is saprobic on dead Juniperus
Remarks: season: 11-5

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Geastrum pectinatum is associated with Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
clustered perithecium of Gibberella pulicaris is saprobic on dead branch of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 1-4
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
hysterothecium of Gloniopsis praelonga is saprobic on dead twig of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / parasite
mycelium of Herpotrichia juniperi parasitises live leaf of Juniperus

Foodplant / sap sucker
Leptoglossus occidentalis sucks sap of unripe seed of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, superficial hysterothecium of Mytilinidion acicola is saprobic on twig of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
hysterothecium of Mytilinidion decipiens is saprobic on dead barkneedle of Juniperus

Foodplant / spinner
colonial Oligonychus ununguis spins live, yellowed foliage of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 5-7

Foodplant / feeds on
Orsillus depressus feeds on Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
acervulus of Pestalotiopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Pestalotiopsis funerea is saprobic on dead Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
acervulus of Pestalotiopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Pestalotiopsis guepinii var. macrotricha is saprobic on dead Juniperus

Foodplant / pathogen
erumpent pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis juniperivora infects and damages live twig of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
sort-stalked apothecium of Pithya cupressina is saprobic on dead leaf of Juniperus
Remarks: season: 6-8

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Polyporus squamosus is saprobic on dead, decaying wood of Juniperus
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / sap sucker
hypophyllous Pulvinaria floccifera sucks sap of live leaf of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Radulomyces confluens is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Juniperus
Other: unusual host/prey

Plant / associate
fruitbody of Ramariopsis kunzei is associated with Juniperus
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial thyriothecium of Stomiopeltis juniperina is saprobic on dead, old decaying leaf of Juniperus

Foodplant / secondary infection
erumpent pycnidium of Sclerophoma coelomycetous anamorph of Sydowia polyspora secondarily infects gall-midge infected leaf of Juniperus

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Velutarina juniperi is saprobic on dead wood of Juniperus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:331Public Records:232
Specimens with Sequences:308Public Species:70
Specimens with Barcodes:308Public BINs:0
Species:71         
Species With Barcodes:71         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Juniperus

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Wikipedia

Juniper

Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus /ˈnɪpərəs/[1] of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50 and 67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the mountains of Central America.

Description[edit]

Cones and leaves of Juniperus communis

Junipers vary in size and shape from tall trees, 20–40 m tall, to columnar or low spreading shrubs with long trailing branches. They are evergreen with needle-like and/or scale-like leaves. They can be either monoecious or dioecious. The female seed cones are very distinctive, with fleshy, fruit-like coalescing scales which fuse together to form a "berry"-like structure, 4–27 mm long, with 1-12 unwinged, hard-shelled seeds. In some species these "berries" are red-brown or orange but in most they are blue; they are often aromatic and can be used as a spice. The seed maturation time varies between species from 6–18 months after pollination. The male cones are similar to those of other Cupressaceae, with 6-20 scales; most shed their pollen in early spring, but some species pollinate in the autumn.

Detail of Juniperus chinensis shoots, with juvenile (needle-like) leaves (left), and adult scale leaves and immature male cones (right)

Many junipers (e.g. J. chinensis, J. virginiana) have two types of leaves: seedlings and some twigs of older trees have needle-like leaves 5–25 mm long; and the leaves on mature plants are (mostly) tiny (2–4 mm long), overlapping and scale-like. When juvenile foliage occurs on mature plants, it is most often found on shaded shoots, with adult foliage in full sunlight. Leaves on fast-growing 'whip' shoots are often intermediate between juvenile and adult.

In some species (e. g. J. communis, J. squamata), all the foliage is of the juvenile needle-like type, with no scale leaves. In some of these (e.g. J. communis), the needles are jointed at the base, in others (e.g. J. squamata), the needles merge smoothly with the stem, not jointed.

The needle-leaves of junipers are hard and sharp, making the juvenile foliage very prickly to handle. This can be a valuable identification feature in seedlings, as the otherwise very similar juvenile foliage of cypresses (Cupressus, Chamaecyparis) and other related genera is soft and not prickly.

Juniper is the exclusive food plant of the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix inusitata and Juniper Carpet, and is also eaten by the larvae of other Lepidoptera species such as Chionodes electella, Chionodes viduella, Juniper Pug and Pine Beauty; those of the tortrix moth C. duplicana feed on the bark around injuries or canker.

Classification[edit]

The number of juniper species is in dispute, with two recent studies giving very different totals, Farjon (2001) accepting 52 species, and Adams (2004) accepting 67 species. The junipers are divided into several sections, though (particularly among the scale-leaved species) which species belong to which sections is still far from clear, with research still on-going. The section Juniperus is an obvious monophyletic group though.[citation needed]

Juniper needles, magnified. Left, Juniperus communis (Juniperus sect. Juniperus; note needles 'jointed' at base). Right, Juniperus chinensis (Juniperus sect. Sabina; note needles merging smoothly with the stem, not jointed at base).
An Eastern Juniper in October laden with ripe cones.
Cones and seeds.
Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, eastern Sierra Nevada, Rock Creek Canyon, California.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and scopulorum) essential oil in a clear glass vial

Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and responsible for gin's name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, genever). Juniper berries are also used as the primary flavor in the liquor Jenever and sahti-style of beers. Juniper berry sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail, pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison and other meat dishes.

Many of the earliest prehistoric people lived in or near juniper forests which furnished them food, fuel, and wood for shelter or utensils. Many species, such as J. chinensis (Chinese Juniper) from eastern Asia, are extensively used in landscaping and horticulture, and as one of the most popular species for use in bonsai. It is also a symbol of longevity, strength, athleticism, and fertility.

Some junipers are susceptible to Gymnosporangium rust disease, and can be a serious problem for those people growing apple trees, the alternate host of the disease.

Some junipers are given the common name "cedar," including Juniperus virginiana, the "red cedar" that is used widely in cedar drawers. "Eastern redcedar" is the correct name for Juniperus virginiana. The lack of space between the words "red" and "cedar" indicate that this species is not a true cedar, Cedrus.

In Morocco, the tar (gitran) of the arar tree (Juniperus phoenicea) is applied in dotted patterns on bisque drinking cups. Gitran makes the water more fragrant and is said to be good for the teeth.

American Indians, such as the Navajo, have traditionally used juniper to treat diabetes.[3] Animal studies have shown that treatment with juniper may retard the development of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mice.[4] Native Americans also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive.[5] The 17th Century herbalist physician Nicholas Culpeper recommended the ripened berries for conditions such as asthma and sciatica, as well as to speed childbirth.[6]

Juniper berries are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that may vary from colorless to yellow or pale green. Some of its chemical components are alpha pinene, cadinene, camphene and terpineol. Leaves and twigs of Juniperus virginiana are steam distilled to produce oil of juniper. Middle Tennessee and adjacent northern Alabama and southern Kentucky are the centers for this activity. The U.S. Forest Service has provided plans for the apparatus required. This work is typically done during periods of cold weather to reduce the loss of essential oil to evaporation, which is greater in warmer weather, and to take advantage of a time of year when labor might be more readily available.

Juniper in weave is a traditional cladding technique used in Northern Europe, e.g. at Havrå, Norway.[7]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Adams, Robert. "Phytologia (April 2010) 92(1)". 
  3. ^ McCabe, Melvina; Gohdes, Dorothy; Morgan, Frank; Eakin, Joanne; Sanders, Margaret; Schmitt, Cheryl (2005). "Herbal Therapies and Diabetes Among Navajo Indians". Diabetes Care 28 (6): 1534–1535. doi:10.2337/diacare.28.6.1534-a. 
  4. ^ Swanston-Flatt, S. K.; Day, C.; Bailey, C. J.; Flatt, P. R. (1990). "Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice". Diabetologia 33 (8): 462–464. doi:10.1007/BF00405106. PMID 2210118. 
  5. ^ Tilford, Gregory L. (1997). Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West. Mountain Press Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87842-359-1. 
  6. ^ Culpeper, Nicholas (1985). Culpeper's Complete Herbal. Godfrey Cave Associates. ISBN 1-85007-026-1. 
  7. ^ Berge, Bjørn (2009). The Ecology of Building Materials (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-85617-537-1. 

References[edit]

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