The Gymnosperm Database


Tree in habitat on Mont de la Sainte-Victoire near Marseille, France [Réjean Drouin, 2013.09].


Tree in habitat, Marseille Veyre trail (Calanques), France [Franck Miguel, 2017.07].

line drawing

A. Fruiting branch. B. Female cone. C. Male inflorescence. D. Microsporophyll with microsporangia (Sherif and El-Taife 1986).


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Conservation status

Juniperus phoenicea

Linnaeus 1753, p. 1040

Common names

Phoenician juniper (Vidakovic 1991), genévrier Phénicie (French).

Taxonomic notes

Two subspecies, the type and J. phoenicia L. subsp. turbinata (Guss.) Nyman 1881. Synonymy (Farjon 1998):

Subsp. phoenicia:

Subsp. turbinata:

Forma megalocarpa Maire differs from the type in having larger, purplish-brown fruits. Morocco: on the Atlantic coast (Vidakovic 1991).


"A shrub or a small tree up to 6 (10) m high. Crown dense, conical. Bark dark brown. Shoots very slender, about 1 mm in diameter, roundish. Foliage scale-like, and needle-like on young plants; scale-like leaves ovate to rhombic, closely appressed, opposite or in whorls of 3, dark or blue-green, 1 mm long; needle-like leaves in whorls of 3, about 6 mm long, with 2 stomata bands on both the upper and lower surfaces. Monoecious or dioecious species. Fruit globose, about 1 cm across, glossy, yellowish or reddish-brown, slightly pruinose, on a stalk about 5 mm long, ripening in the second year, composed of 6 to 8 scales, with 3 to 9 seeds" (Vidakovic 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

The type subspecies is native to the Canary Islands, Portugal, coastal Mediterreanean, Saudi Arabia, and Sinai near the Red Sea. Subspecies turbinata is native to the western Mediterreanean (Farjon 1998). "In North Africa it occurs on hills and dunes and in arid mountain regions ascending to 2200 m. In European area of the Mediterranean it grows up to 1200 m elevation. In Yugoslavia it occurs in the coastal region" (Vidakovic 1991), and it is also native to Croatia (Idojitic et al. 2003).

Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree


"It attains over 1000 years of age" (Vidakovic 1991) (no supporting information).






Marilena Idojitic, Joso Graçan and Davorin Kajba. 2003. Country report on national activities on gene conservation of conifers. EUFORGEN. (4-Apr-2004).

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 2: 1040.

Sherif, A. S. and A. El-Taife. 1986. Flora of Libya. Al Faateh University Faculty of Science.

See also

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

Last Modified 2017-12-29