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Woody > Juniperus > Juniperus excelsa > Juniperus excelsa

Juniperus excelsa

Greek Juniper

Origin:  Eastern Mediterranean.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


Juniperus excelsa is a truly amazing evergreen. It is a great resource tree with its rich oils for medical purposes. At full maturity this tree is very pleasing with its great heights and round crown. It is a slow growing tough tree.

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


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
4a - 9b
Canadian Hardiness Zone
3a - 5b
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
-34- (-31)
Temperature (°F)
-40- (-35)
6 - 9 m
1.5 - 3 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Juniperus excelsa is one of the most widespread conifer trees in Lebanon. It grows in sites where little to no conifers can grow. It is very rich in oils such as Virginian cedar wood oil and East African cedar wood oil.
Used for its drought tolerance and ability to survive in high temperatures. It is used in Middle Eastern countries for rehabilitation areas. It can survive the conditions where most trees cannot.
The Greek Juniper likes clay, loam or sandy soil. It can also tolerate acidic, neutral and alkaline soil PH levels. The light requirements are full sun to partial shade. It can also survive in moderate water conditions.
Columnar into a round crown.
ID Characteristic
Simple leaf structure with opposite leaf arrangement and medium texture on foliage. The trunk of the tree has exfoliating bark and is a light brown colour. It is slow growing and will take up to 50 years to grow to its full potential.
The berries of the trees get infested by fruit moth larvae. Semanotus semenovi and Phloeosinus jubatus have been recorded feeding on the bark and sapwood.
Horticultural Origin.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark is very rough and exfoliating. It is very strong due to its slow growth. Once the bark is peeled off it becomes very weak but is used as a great fire starter.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
In spring the buds are bright yellow in small clusters.
Leaf Description
Simple leaf type with an opposite arrangement and entire leaf margins. Medium texture with a pleasant scent when rolled in your hand.
Flower Description
The size of the flower is 1.5-3 cm in length. They are yellow and white in colour with no fragrance. The flowers will bloom in early spring.
Fruit Description
The berry will start out green within the first year and while it ripens it will turn a bright blue with a size of about 1.5-3 cm.
Colour Description
In early spring the foliage is a light green but throughout the summer it turns into a darker green and by fall a greenish-brown colour. The greenish-blue berries give it some colour in early spring and by late summer the berries are a bright blue.
Texture Description
Rough textured tree throughout the season.
This tree can be propagated through seeds or cuttings. The cuttings should be around 5-15 cm in length and should be cut from new growth.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Mainly used in medicine for lowering blood pressure. The oils in the tree can be used for mood scents, masks, soaps, candles, lotions and fragrances.
Duke's Handbook of Medicinal Plants of the Bible.