The Gymnosperm Database

line drawing

Foliage and cones (Harkevich and Kachura 1981).


Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Conservation status

Juniperus rigida

Siebold et Zuccarini 1846

Common names

Nezu, nezumi-sashi, muro [Japanese] (Iwatsuki et al. 1995), 杜松 du song [Chinese] (Fu et al. 1999), needle juniper (Vidakovic 1991).

Taxonomic notes

Two subspecies, the type and subsp. conferta.

Synonymy for the type (Farjon 1998):


[For the typical subspecies:] Dioecious (rarely monoecious) evergreen shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall and 45 cm dbh with ascending or horizontally spreading branches and pendulous branchlets. Bark thin and scaly, red-brown, later gray, furrowed on old trees. Branchlets slender, triangular, red-brown, glabrous, with scattered spreading leaves. Leaves dark green, needle-like, in whorls of 3, not decurrent, rigid, sharply pointed and prickly, with a V-shaped cross-section, (10-)12-20(-28) mm long, about 1 mm wide, deep green on lower surface with a narrow white stomatal band above. Flowers April, solitary in axils of previous year's shoots. Pollen cones in whorls of 3, ellipsoid or subglobose, yellowish green, 3-5 mm long, with 9-12 (or more) microsporophylls each with 4-7 pollen sacs. Seed cones axillary on very short stalks, stalks densely clothed with small scaly leaves, young cones green, ripening to light brown-blue or blue-black with a strong resinous odor, globose to ovoid, 6-10 mm across with (2-)3 seeds. Seeds oblong or triangular, resinous, brown, 3(-4)-ridged, ca. 6 mm long, 3 mm wide. Sources report seeds ripening from late in the second year to late summer in the third year. Chromosome number: 2n = 22 (Harkevich and Kachura 1981, Vidakovic 1991, Iwatsuki et al. 1995, Fu et al. 1999).

Distribution and Ecology

Japan, Korea, China, Russia. In Japan, found in Honshu (southward from Iwate Prefecture), N Shikoku, and N and C Kyushu at 100-1000 m elevation (Iwatsuki et al. 1995). In China, found in Gansu, N Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Shaanxi in dry mountainous areas at up to 2200 m elevation (Fu et al. 1999). Rare in Russia, where in only occurs in S Ussuriland, on limestone rocks and sandy seashores (Harkevich and Kachura 1981). Hardy to Zone 5 (cold hardiness limit between -28.8°C and -23.3°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree





In Russia, easy to see in Lazovsky Zapovednik (Harkevich and Kachura 1981).



Siebold and Zuccarini. 1844. Fl. Jap. 2: 56, t. 125.

See also

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

Last Modified 2017-12-29