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Woody > Juniperus > Juniperus communis > Juniperus communis

Juniperus communis

Common Juniper

Origin:  It is common in North and Central Europe, in the mountains of countries that border the Mediterranean, Asia and North America.
            Mike's Opinion

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This evergreen is a medium sized shrub that can be used for hedges and mass plantings. It is not a desirable plant and some people find this plant objectionable due to its yellow-brown foliage that develops in cold winter months.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
2a - 6
Canadian Hardiness Zone
0 - 6a
RHS Hardiness Zone
H7 - H6
Temperature (°C)
-46 - (-18)
Temperature (°F)
-50 - 0
1.5 - 5 m
2 - 4 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
The plant is very adaptable and can literally grow in any conditions.
This plant is not used in horticulture as an ornamental shrub. It could be used as a ground cover for sandy soils and waste places. Common Junipers are not very desirable plants.
This plant can grow in the worst possible soil conditions. The plant commonly grows on dry, sterile soils, rock outcroppings and wastelands. It is very hardy and likes full sun/partial shade. The Common Juniper is very pH adaptable.
Common Junipers usually have a narrow, pyramidal shape. They can also be low growing in form.
ID Characteristic
In winter foliage turns to a brown-bronze colour and has blue-black fruits. This plant is often confused with Juniperus conferta, the difference being that Juniperus communis has a white line that is divided by broader green midrib on its needles.
This plant is susceptible to juniper blight, can have problems with root rot and can be infected with cedar-apple type rusts.
Northern parts of Asia, Europe and North America at altitudes up to 3000 m.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark on is a red–brown colour which flakes off in thin strips, it cannot usually be seen as it is covered by the foliage.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Buds are small and brown-orange.
Leaf Description
The needles are awl-shaped tapering from the base to a point. Needles spread at a wide angle from stem and are about 5-20 mm long. They have a white band sometimes divided by a green midrib at the base.
Flower Description
Plants are dioecious, the flowers are yellow and pollinated in the spring by wind.
Fruit Description
The berry will be green in colour in the first year and as it ripens will turn to a blue-black colour. The berries are very bitter to taste (Gin) can be dried to flavour food.
Colour Description
Needles are green-grey to blue-green in the summer time, in the winter needles turn into an unpleasant yellow-brown colour. Berries are blue-black in colour and the bark is red–brown which does not change in winter months.
Texture Description
Medium textured.
Notable Specimens
Common in the Bruce Peninsula region of Ontario, Canada and along the sides of highway 69 north of Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
Seeds requires a cold stratification period. It has a hard seed coat and can take a long time to germinate.