The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Juniperus monosperma

(Engelmann) Sargent 1896

Common names

One-seed juniper, cherrystone juniper, New Mexico cedar (Peattie 1950), sabina (Adams 1993).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: J. gymnocarpa, Sabina monosperma (Silba 1986), Juniperus occidentalis var. monosperma Engelmann 1878 (Adams 1993).

"Reports of hybridization with J. pinchotii have been refuted by use of numerous chemical and morphologic characters; the two species have nonoverlapping pollination seasons" (Adams 1993).


"Shrubs or trees dioecious, to 7(12) m, usually branching near base; crown rounded to flattened-globose. Bark gray to brown, exfoliating in thin strips, that of small branchlets (5-10 mm diam.) smooth, that of larger branchlets exfoliating in either flakes or in strips. Branches ascending to erect; branchlets erect, 4-6-sided, ca. 2/3 as wide as length of scalelike leaves. Leaves green to dark green, abaxial glands elongate, fewer than 1/5 of glands (on whip leaves) with an evident white crystalline exudate, margins denticulate (at 20×); whip leaves 4-6 mm, glaucous adaxially; scalelike leaves 1-3 mm, not overlapping, or if so, by less than 1/4 their length, keeled, apex acute to acuminate, spreading. Seed cones maturing in 1 year, of 1 size, with straight peduncles, globose to ovoid, 6-8 mm, reddish blue to brownish blue, glaucous, fleshy and resinous, with 1(-3) seeds. Seeds 4-5 mm" (Adams 1993).

Distribution and Ecology

USA: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas at 1000-2300 m elevation on dry, rocky soils and slopes (Adams 1993). Other sources (Peattie 1950, Silba 1986) constrain the Texas range to the Panhandle, Big Bend and Edwards Plateau areas, and recognize an extension into Mexico (N Sonora and Chihuahua). See also Thompson et al. 1999. Hardy to Zone 4 (cold hardiness limit between -34.3°C and -28.9°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Distribution data from USGS (1999). Points plotted as tree icons represent isolated or approximate locations.

Big tree

Diameter 136 cm, height 9 m, crown spread 9 m, located in the Jicarilla Mountains, NM (American Forests 1996).







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."

American Forests 1996. The 1996-1997 National Register of Big Trees. Washington, DC: American Forests. This is a dated citation; the big tree register is now available online.

See also

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

R.P. Adams' web site,

Last Modified 2017-12-29