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Conservation status

Juniperus communis var. saxatilis

Pallas 1789

Common names

Taxonomic notes

Synonymy (Adams 1993, Farjon 2005):

Commonly called J. communis var. montana or J. communis var nana in the horticultural trade.

Juniperus communis var. saxatilis "is widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Although the proposed var. jackii is quite distinct in the field (prostrate shrub with sparsely branched, whiplike, trailing branches), transplants indicate that the unusual growth form is environmentally induced (Steve Edwards, pers. comm.)" (Adams 1993).


"Shrubs spreading to matlike, 0.5-1 m. Leaves upturned or upcurled, to 15 × 2 mm, linear-lanceolate, sometimes almost overlapping, glaucous stomatal band on adaxial leaf surface 2 or more times width of each green marginal band, apex acute to obtuse and mucronate. Seed cones 6-9 mm, shorter than leaves. 2n = 22" (Adams 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

Europe, Caucasus, Siberia, central Asia, W Asia, Jammu-Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal, Pakistan, NE and NW China, Japan, Korea, Russian far east, W North America, Greenland; at 0-4050 m elevation in montane to alpine habitat types (Farjon 2005).

Big tree


Shumilov et al. (2007) report a 617-year tree-ring chronology based on living material.


This is one of most northern conifers; a chronology from the polar timberline on the Kolya Peninsula has been used for climatic inference (Shumilov et al. 2007).





Shumilov, O.I., E.A. Kasatkina, N.V. Lukina, I.Yu. Kirtsideli and A.G Kanatjev. 2007. Paleoclimatic potential of the northernmost juniper trees in Europe. Dendrochronologia 24(2-3): 123-130. ABSTRACT: In late summer 2004 stem discs were collected from about 40 juniper trees (Juniperus Siberica Burgsd) growing at the remote central part of Kola Peninsula behind the polar circle at the northern timberline. Up to now these juniper trees are oldest ones found at Kola Peninsula. Data processing was difficult due to extremely small tree rings as well as the occurrence of missing and false rings. However, finally it was possible to build up a 676-year long chronology and retrieve information on the past climatic variations at Kola Peninsula that could partly be linked to extraterrestrial factors such as changes in solar activity and galactic cosmic ray activity. It was obtained that: (1) There is a rather good agreement between long-term climatic variation in Europe and at Kola Peninsula. (2) The minima of solar activity Sporer (1416-1534 AD), Maunder (1645-1715 AD) and Dalton (1801-1816 AD) were accompanied by temperature decreases. Cooling during the end of the Wolf minimum (until 1350) is reflected in the juniper tree-ring series from Kola Peninsula whereas it is not reflected in the European temperature reconstructions. (3) Some recent decreases in solar activity around 1900 and 1960 are linked to phases of reduced growth in juniper. (4) The juniper chronologies from Kola Peninsula do not indicate a temperature rise at the end of the XX century. (5) MTM spectral and wavelet analysis of juniper tree-ring records showed: (a) more pronounced 22- and 80-100-year periodicities; (b) the main cycle of solar activity, the 11-year Schwabe cycle, was not present; (c) 20-22-year periodicity was not significant throughout the entire ca.700-year period, but during certain time intervals: 1328-1550, 1710-1800, 1985 to present.

See also

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

Last Modified 2012-11-23