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Juniper, Juniperus communis

Not resinous conifer of the family Cupressaceae
(incense-cedar, Cypress, Juniper, Libocedrus, Arborvitae)

Etymology: from Latin juniperus, from the Celtic gen, "shrub", and prus, "acrid".
Origin: Europe. The Juniper cade is a Mediterranean species.
Habitat: heliophilous species, accepts the poor soils, possibly calcareous, sandy and dry, until 1500 m of altitude.
Lifespan: 200 years.
Hardiness: zone 7 (it supports cold until -17 °C or 1 °F).
Height: shrub of 4-5 m, rarely reaching the size of a tree, 10-15 m tall.
Form (insulated tree): upright, columnar, except if it suffers warping conditions.
Stringy bark brownish grey. Branches leave from the foot of the trunk.
Persistent foliage. Prickly needles (1 cm), whorled by 3. Pale stripes stomatifère on the upper face, grey-green on the underside. The Juniper cade, Juniperus oxycedrus, has two of it.
Species dioecious. Blossoming in April-May, in general on distinct, male and female feet.
Blue fruits (" Galbules ") in small bowls in the appearance of a berry that ripen in the fall of the year following pollination.
Legends and traditions: Among the Romans, the cade oil, extracted by heating the wood, served for washing the dead.
Uses: - Wood of lesser quality, it was used for heating furnaces and smoking of meats. - Because of its hardness, and variety of its color (red-brown to yellow) and its fine grain, however, it is also used in lathes, eg for the production of tool handles and knives, walking sticks, pipes, pipe, but also in woodwork and art sculpture. For its timber, one also makes pencils.
- Rotproof, it was also used for the manufacture of water pipes, pegs and poles, as well as coffins.
- Powerful antiseptic, wood was used in fumigation until the nineteenth century: we burned in homes and public places during epidemics.
- Common juniper false berries contain a principle that aids digestion and drainage of the liver (they are diuretics). They are used in the manufacture of alcohol (Gin Gin, Aquavit).
- The bark decoction is used against furunculosis (50 g per liter of water).
- From Juniper cade, is also extracted oil of cade, which is a powerful antiseptic.

Other species:

Other species are often trees of 9-15 m tall. The foliage includes often two types of leaves, needles and scales.

Juniper of Syria, native to mountains of Syria and of Greece. Sharp needles, 2 cm long, with two white bands below.

Juniper of the Himalayas, native to the Himalayas and to Burma; the foliage is made small grey-green needles, which turn to reddish-brown before falling. Stems are pendulous, like other species of the Himalayas (cedar, spruce, pine).

Juniper of China, native to China. It also grows in shrub creeping.

Eastern Red cedar, or " red cedar ", because of its red wood:
native to the centre of North America.
Height: it is the biggest of junipers (until 30 m).
Habitat: the Red Cedar grows in all sorts of terrain, from dry rocky outcrop to the ground wet swampy areas. Species of light, it can also withstand drought, and heat and cold.
The foliage includes needles, by pairs, and scales. In summer, its leaves are dark green, almost black, and in winter, its foliage can have a purple nuance. There is a decorative (light green) squalid variety.
Its fruits, small berries, are appreciated by the wild animals.
Its wood moves moths away and was used to make clothes chests; pencils were also made (nice to bite?).

 
 
 

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