The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
December 2005; June 2007, Dec 2007, Feb 2012, Dec 2012, Feb 2014

Juniperus californica

San Luis Obispo Co. CA
Spjut & Casterline 14602, Feb. 2002

Juniperus californica

Kern River Canyon, ~2,400 ft, image of entire plants, Mar 2011, close-up, Feb 2012. SPJ-16861, dioecious, fruit (arcesthida) with 2 seeds.


Juniperus californica

West of Canebrake Creek crossing, Hwy 178,  ~4,200 ft, image of tree-female, Mar 2011, all other Feb 2012. SPJ-16862, dioecious, fruit (arcesthida) with 1 seed.


Juniperus californica

Spring Mountains, NV;
Limestone slopes, 5,000 ft; May. 2006.
Note: The common  juniper reported for this region is J. osteosperma, whereas J. californica has been reported south of here in the Newberry Mts.  Impressed glands conspicuous on some leaves suggest J. californica.



Juniperus californica

Southern Sierra Nevada/Tehachapi Mts.,
Pacific Crest Trail 1 mi E of Cameron, CA
June 2012. Plants mostly dioecious, one found monoecious but cones predominantly female. 
Leaf glands evident but not conspicuous.



Juniperus communis

Apache-Sitgreaves Natl. For., northeastern AZ
Oct 2007



Juniperus deppeana

Apache-Sitgreaves Natl. For., AZ
Oct 2007


Juniperus deppeana


Coronado National Forest, NM
Spjut & Marin 14545, Nov. 2001



Juniperus flaccida

Chisos Mts., TX
Spjut & Marin 14470; Oct. 2001



Juniperus grandis

Domeland Wilderness, Inyo. Co.,
July 2004

Juniperus occidentalis

Warner Mts., Modoc Co., CA
June 2005


Juniperus occidentalis

Black Mt., NE of Yreka, Siskiyou Co., CA
Garry oak woodland, elev. ca. 2700 ft.,
May 2007
Photo on left by Susan Spjut

Juniperus osteosperma

Southern Utah, Fish Lake Dist., Sep 2007. Monoecious.


Juniperus osteosperma

Central Nevada, Monitor Range., July 2007




Juniperus osteosperma

Spring Mts., Lovell Canyon, ~4,700 ft, NV, Feb 2012, SPJ-16867.  Trees and shrubs with thousands of cones, 99% of the cones on a tree predominantly male or female. Top images mostly male, bottom images mostly female.


Juniperus osteosperma

CA: Clark Mt., ~1500 m, June 2006

Juniperus osteosperma

NV: Esmeralda Co., Lida Summit,
 ~2,255 m, June 2007

Juniperus osteosperma

Kern Co., CA.  Banks above Kern River, within city limits of Kernville, Dec 29, 2007. Possibly dioecious, leaves opposite, glands not evident.

Juniperus osteosperma

Arches National Park, Utah
May 2008


Juniperus pinchotii

Chisos Mts., TX
Spjut & Marin 14471; Oct. 2001


Juniperus procera, Cupressaceae,

Spjut & Ensor 3198, Rift Valley Prov., Nakuru Dist, Mt. Londiani, Kenya


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Dec 2012)

Juniperus. Cones fleshy, berry-like (arcesthida), maturing on leafy branches.

Key to Juniperus species

1. Low shrubs wider than tall, with main stems trailing along ground, 
or wide spreading with recurved leaders, <1m; leaves awl-shaped;
not known in Kern Co.................. ...................................... Juniperus communis

1. Shrubs or trees, often taller than wide, >1m, the low shrub forms with
with ascending stems; leaves scale-like (diamond-shaped).................................... 2

...... 2.  Trees with wide spreading branches from  trunk; leaves with
conspicuous mid gland depression;  male and female cones usually (95%)
on the same plant; fruit blue-black below the exterior whitish
blue surface; Sierra Nevada near Owens Peak, Scodie Mts.,
above 2,000 m ........................................................................ Juniperus grandis
2. Shrubs or trees with ascending branches from trunk; leaves with or
without conspicuous depressed gland; male and females cones on the
same plant or on separate plants; fruit reddish brown below the blue
waxy surface..................... ................................................................................... 3

3.  Leaves slightly keeled in upper third; leaf glands occasionally
conspicuous on some leaves, centered at the widest part of leaf; male and
females cones usually on the same plant, although one sex may prevail on
a plant; young leafy shoots often spreading 45
⁰; banks of Kern River,
Kernville.............. .................................................. ........... Juniperus osteosperma

Leaves in upper mid region depressed or puckered; impressed glands
visible on most leaves, centered slightly below the widest part of leaf;
male and female cones usually on separate plants (98%); young leafy
shoots often spreading >60
⁰; common..................... ............ Juniperus californica


Juniperus communis Linnaeus 1753. Common juniper. Low shrub with branches forming mats along ground, wider than tall, < 1 m high; leaves spreading so that an entire leaf is visible, arrowhead in shape.  A widely distributed species that might be expected in Kern Co, but not known south of Tuolumne and Madera Cos.

Juniperus californica Carrière 1854. California juniper. Dioecious (98.1%, Adams 2011a), or rarely monoecious (Pacific Crest Trail, 1 mi E of Cameron, pers. obs. Jun 2012, one plant with male cones predominantly with female cones), usually shrubs, or rarely trees, usually with several trunks, branches ascending to erect; leaves awl-shaped, appressed to branches in whorls of 3 although appearing opposite or 4-sided on young twigs, overlapping so that only part of a leaf is visible, usually with a conspicuous glandular depression just below the widest part of leaf; berry-like cones (arcesthida, Spjut 1994) with a reddish brown layer beneath an outer bluish layer.  Generally below 5,000 ft, mostly Inner Coast Ranges, Transverse and Peninsular Ranges, desert mountains, to southern Nevada, Arizona, and Baja California including several islands off the Pacific Coast (Cedros, Guadalupe). California juniper woodland recognized in MCV2 when >3% cover over lower shrubs. Type from California without specific location.  Kern Co.  Common as a multi-stemmed shrub, 487–1,584 m (CCH), occasionally as a tree as observed west of Walker Pass along Hwy 178 in Three Pines Canyon.

            Adams (2011) recognized three population groups of California juniper based on terpenoid chemistry: (1) Central Valley, which included a sample from Kern Co. near Bodfish, (2) California Desert, and (3) Arizona Desert.

            The morphological distinction between the California juniper and the Utah juniper is not entirely clear despite the distinguishing features mentioned  in regard to whorled vs. opposite leaves, conspicuous vs. inconspicuous leaf glands, dioecious vs. monoecious, and tree vs. shrub habit.  The conspicuous gland seems to be the best character feature for recognizing California juniper, whereas the keeled midrib on the upper third of the leaf seems best for identifying the Utah juniper. A columnar form, f. lutheyana J. T. Howell & Twisselmann (Four Seasons 2(4): 16 1968), has been recognized from near Kernville and from several miles south of Bodfish.

Juniperus grandis J. P. Adams 2006 [Juniperus occidentalis Hooker 1838. (Type from higher parts of Columbia, base of Rocky Mts.) var. australis (Vasek) A. Holmgren & N. Holmgren 1972; J. occidentalis ssp. australis Vasek 1966]. Sierra juniper, mountain juniper.  Dioecious trees with a large trunk; branches wide spreading; leaves similar to preceding except for the gland appearing puckered; berry-like cones bluish black underneath a bluish white layer. Inner North  Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada with a disjunct occurrences in San Bernardino Mts. Type from San Bernardino Mts., Polique Canyon Rd, 0.2 north of North Shore Hwy. Mountain juniper woodland recognized in MCV2 when relative cover is ≥2%.  Kern  Co.: Owens Peak and its north slopes; 8.9 miles south of Weldon on road to Kelso Valley (P. Raven, 2 May 1958); Scodie Mountains - just northeast of McIvers Spring at the end of FS road 26S35 (Shevock, 24 Jan 1984); 2,011–2,560 m (CCH).

            Adams (2006) discovered that the Sierra Nevada plants are not closely related to the western Juniper, which occurs from northern California (including Yolla Bolly Mts.) to Washington and Idaho. This led to a new name for the Sierra Nevada juniper.

Juniperus osteosperma (J. tetragona var. osteosperma Torrey 1857) Little 1948 [J. utahensis (J. californica var. utahensis Engelmann 1878) Lemmon 1890]. Utah juniper.  Similar to California juniper. Monoecious shrubs or trees, or at some locations almost dioecious, 99% o (e.g., Spring Mts., NV, pers. obs.); leaves lacking a conspicuous resinous pit, arranged in opposite pairs (2-ranked); berry-like cones reddish brown underneath a bluish white layer.  Common in the Great Basin Desert, extending to the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mts. Type from near Williams, Coconino Co., AZ.  Utah juniper woodland recognized in MCV2 when absolute cover >1% and when pinyon pine and Joshua tree <1%.

            Stuart and Sawyer (2001) and Sawyer at al. (MCV2) presented geographical distribution maps of California and Utah junipers that show the species overlap in their geographical range within the Mojave Desert west to San Joaquin Vallye in Kern County. They distinguish the species by whether leaves are whorled (“6-ranked,” J. californica) or opposite (“4-ranked,” JM2, J. osteosperma). Little (1948), who justified the species rank of the Utah and California junipers, distinguished them (J. osteosperma from J. californica) as follows: “the fruit of the former is globose and generally smaller, 6–13 (17) mm. in diameter instead of short-oblong and 20 mm. long in the latter; the branchlets of the former usually slender and bearing leaves in twos and threes, rather than stout, often glaucous, with leaves in threes, the leaves of the former acute or acuminate, slightly toothed on the margins, and with a conspicuous gland on the back or none, instead of rounded or acute, distinctly cartilaginous fringed with more marginal teeth, and usually with a conspicuous gland on back.” Adams (2008) emphasized the crateriform gland depression on mid leaf area and the monoecious vs. dioecious habit (JM2). Additionally, in western juniper (J. occidentalis) 50% of plants may be dioecious compared to 98.1 % for the California juniper, and that sex reversal occurs (Adams 2011a). 

            Also, MCV2 shows the geographical distribution of Utah juniper woodland alliance to occur as a narrow band in Kern Co., along the eastern Sierra Nevada south to the Tehachapi Mts., generally described as a “band between the lower desert scrub types and the higher Artemisia tridentata and pinyon-juniper woodlands.”  CCH lists only one collection og Utah juniper for Kern County, reportedly sterile, from south of Highway 178  west of Walker Pass [M. L. Conrad 7231with D. B. Dunn & LeDoux, 5245 ft. (1598.7 m.) 35° 40' 00"N, 118° 02' 00"W (35.667, -118.033, in a small ditch with Pinus monophylla, Artemisia and Joshua tree]. Other CCH specimens of juniper from this area identified California juniper.  These include tree forms in Three Pines Canyon near Cane Brake Creek near where the NY Conrad specimen was reportedly collected (pers. obs. Feb 2011).  Junipers observed in this area were all dioecious (pers. obs. Feb 2012).   However, along the Kern River near Kernville a tree photographed shows opposite leaves, inconspicuous leaf glands, and fruit of  intermediate size between the California and Utah junipers was identified J. osteosperma (Spjut photo, WBA web page), while specimens in CCH collected within several miles of Kernville are identified  J. californica.

            Molecular studies by Adams (2006) and Adams and Kauffmann (2010) found  California juniper strongly separated from  J. occidentalis, J. osteosperma and J. grandis, based on three samples from desert locations outside Kern County—(1) Victorville and (2) Granite Pass in California, and (3) Yucca, Arizona. They (Adams & Kauffmann 2010) further concluded from other molecular data that populations of the J. osteosperma in the San Bernardino Mts., where sympatric with J. grandis, are indistinct from J. osteosperma in Utah and Nevada, and that populations in the Sierra and Yolla Bolly mountains, regarded as J. grandis, are part of a mosaic complex that is also not distinct from J. osteosperma.

            In the Spring Mts of southwestern Nevada, in Lovell Canyon I observed junipers to be predominantly unisexual in which a visual estimate of 99% of thousands of the cones on a plant were either male or female (pers. obs. Feb 2012). 


Kupchan S. M., J. C. Hemingway and J. R. Knox.  Tumor inhibitors. VII. Podophyllotoxin, the active principle of Juniperus virginiana. 1965. J Pharm Sci. 54(4): 659–660.