The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Juniperus communis var. depressa

Pursh 1814

Common names

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Juniperus communis subsp. depressa (Pursh) Franco (Adams 1993).


Dioecious. Shrubs, usually, or rarely small trees to 6 m tall, usually multistemmed, decumbent. Bark brown, weathering gray, fibrous and peeling off in thin strips. Branchlets spreading or ascending, round. Leaves needle-like, 8-15 mm long, glaucous stomatal band about as wide as each green marginal band; apex acute and mucronate to acuminate. Seed cones 6-9 mm in diameter, containing three seeds (Adams 1993, 2008).

Distribution and Ecology

Canada: all provinces and territories; USA: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Found at 0-2800 m elevation on rocky soil, slopes, and summits (Adams 1993).

This taxon almost disappeared during the Wisconsin glaciation; fossils of that age are only known from the southern Appalachian Mtns., and it expanded to its current range as the climate warmed and the ice melted (Adams 2008).

Big tree






Larger individuals (to 10 m tall) have been misidentified as var. communis (Adams 1993).


Adams, Robert P. 1993. Juniperus. Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.): Flora of North America North of Mexico, Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. This document is available online. Go to, click on "Flora of North America," and search for "Juniperus."

Adams, Robert P. 2008. Junipers of the World: The Genus Juniperus. Second edition. Trafford Publishing. Brief versions of the descriptions are available online at Adam's website,

See also

Farjon (2005) also provides a detailed account, with illustrations and full synonymy.

Last Modified 2017-12-29