The Gymnosperm Database


Tree near Liu Ba, west of Gongga Shan, Sichuan, China [C.J. Earle, 1988.04.29].


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Conservation status

Juniperus komarovii

Florin 1927

Common names

枝圆柏 ta zhi yuan bai [Chinese] (Fu et al. 1999).

Taxonomic notes

Syn.: Juniperus glaucescens Florin; Sabina komarovii (Florin) W. C. Cheng et W. T. Wang (Fu et al. 1999).


Monoecious trees up to 20 m tall with a straight, usually single trunk and open, irregular crown, with drooping or pendulous branches. Bark brownish gray or, more often, bleached to gray. Branchlet systems tapering and gradually becoming shorter from base to apex of system; branchlets loosely arranged, ascending, straight or slightly curved, terete or 4-angled, thick, ultimate ones 1.2-1.5 mm in diameter. Leaves decussate, occasionally in whorls of 3 on leading branches, scale-like, ovate-triangular or triangular-lanceolate, 1.5-3.5(-6) mm, without cuticular wax, with an abaxial gland near base, ovate or elliptic, leaf apex acute, slightly incurved but free. Pollen cones ovoid or globose, 2-3 mm; microsporophylls usually 10, each with 2 or 3 pollen sacs. Seed cones erect, purple-black or black when ripe, slightly glaucous, ovoid or subglobose, 8-10(-12) mm, 1-seeded. Seeds ovoid, rarely obovoid, 6-8.5 mm, obtusely ridged, narrowed by resin pits toward base (Fu et al. 1999), field observations 1988.04.

Distribution and Ecology

China: S Qinghai and NW Sichuan (Fu et al. 1999) and Russia (local in S Ussuriland) (Vladimir Dinets e-mail, 1998.01.12). Typically in forests at 3,000-4,000 m elevation (Fu et al. 1999). Hardy to Zone 6 (cold hardiness limit between -23.2°C and -17.8°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

I have seen it in forests on the W side of Gongga Shan in the Daxue Shan of Sichuan, where it grows on dry steep S slopes forming a woodland of erect trees 10-20 m tall; the corresponding N slopes support forests of Picea likiangensis, or on slightly drier sites, Quercus aquifolioides. The understory contains a variety of shrubs well adapted to cold dry climate and grazing by goats, notably Juniperus pingii var. wilsonii.

Big tree


In 1989 I collected one sample, LIU-9A (see below), with a 1559-1989 ring count, giving a minimum age of 430 yrs. Many other sampled trees approached this age.


I collected a chronology (unpublished) in 1989 from Liu Ba (China: Sichuan). Circuit uniformity in this species is good and many trees were over 300 years old, but I found very low correlation between trees due to intensive human disturbance, chiefly the cutting of juniper boughs to be burned as incense at nearby Buddhist monasteries. Populations not exploited by cutting or pruning might be dendroclimatically useful.


See Dendrochronology, above.


See Dendrochronology, above.



See also

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

Last Modified 2017-12-29