Juniperus communis var. depressa Pursh
Family: Cupressaceae
common juniper
[Juniperus canadensis Lodd. ex Burgsd.,  more]
Juniperus communis var. depressa image
Max Licher  
Shrubs prostrate or low with ascending branchlet tips (occasionally spreading shrubs to 3 m, rarely small trees to 10 m). Leaves upturned, to 15 ยด 1.6 mm, rarely spreading, linear, glaucous stomatal band about as wide as each green marginal band, apex acute and mucronate to acuminate. Seed cones 6--9 mm, shorter than leaves. 2 n = 22. Rocky soil, slopes, and summits; 0--2800 m; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Conn., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nev., N.H., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., Wis., Wyo. In the flora, larger individuals of this variety (to 10 m) have been misidentified as var. communis .

PLANT: prostrate. LEAVES: to 1.6 mm wide, the glaucous band on upper surface about as wide as both green marginal bands. NOTES: See also parent taxon. Rocky or wooded slopes; boreal forest and woodland: Apache, Coconino, Gila, Greenlee, and Navajo cos.; 2100-3650 m (6900-12000 ft); Apr-May; boreal regions of U.S.; Canada. REFERENCES: Bartel, Jim A. 1994. Cupressaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 27, 195-200.
Shrub 0.5 - 2 m tall Leaves: in whorls of three, needle-like, often with a white line above, shiny dark green beneath, 1 - 1.8 cm long, tip sharply pointed, almost perpendicular to the stem, holding for 3 years. Leaves turn yellow to brownish green in winter. Bark: dark reddish brown, peeling in long, loose scales. Twigs: shiny greenish yellow, becoming reddish brown. Form: trailing along the ground with erect tips (decumbent) to form circular patches; a dwarfed form of <i>J. communis</i>. Cones: unisexual, with separate pollen and seed cones produced on different plants (dioecious). Pollen cones: 4 - 5 mm long, widest at base. Seed cones: almost spherical with three to four scales; scales fusing to become berry-like, blue to almost black with a waxy whitish coating (glaucous), 6 - 13 mm in diameter, nearly spherical, each containing one to three egg-shaped seeds; seeds 2 - 3 mm long, typically three-angled, take three years to mature. Pollination occurs from late April to early June.

Similar species: The typical variety of Juniperus communis has a conical to open growth habit.

Habitat and ecology: Old foredunes and clayey slopes near Lake Michigan, sand dunes farther from the lake, and in areas with dry, rocky soil.

Occurence in the Chicago region: native

Notes: Juniperus communis var. depressa is the most common form of J. communis in the Chicago Region.

Etymology: Juniperus is the Latin name for juniper. Communis comes from the Latin word for common. Depressa comes from the Latin word for low, referring to its growth habit.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Juniperus communis var. depressa image
Max Licher  
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L. R. Landrum  
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Mona Terwedow  
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Mona Terwedow  
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