Common Juniper
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Common Juniper
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Common Juniper
Botanical name: Juniperus communis    Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress family)

Common Juniper is a coniferous shrub or tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. It has needle-like leaves in whorls of three. The leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4-12 mm diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2-3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen. Common Juniper is found in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to C. Nepal, at altitudes of 1800-3600 m. Flowering: April-May.

Identification credit: Nongthombam Ullysess Photographed in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

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