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ROCKY MOUNTAIN JUNIPER - Sabina scopulorum

Copyright:Al Schneider. Southwest Colorado Wildflowers,
Copyright:Al Schneider. Southwest Colorado Wildflowers,
Copyright:Al Schneider. Southwest Colorado Wildflowers, ww

Other Common Names: red cedar, savin, juniper
Scientific Name: Sabina scopulorum
Derivation: scopulorum - of the rocks.
Synonyms: Juniperus scopulorum
Family: Cypress - Cupressaceae
Species Characteristics: berries less than 7 mm diameter.
Mature Height: 30 to 50 feet.
Mature Spread: 8 to 15 feet.
Flower Structure: flowers unisexual and dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants).
Fruit Color: blue/gray
Fruit Type: glaucous (covered with fine, white powder) berry-like cone (seed bearing structure in conifers) with fused scales.
Leaf Type: scale-like (reduced leaf like body that is not green).
Leaf/Leaflet Shape: triangular
Origin: native
Frequency: common
Growth Form: tree
Life Cycle: perennial
Class: gymnosperm (plant with naked seed as in conifers).
Season of Bloom: spring (Mar. - May).
Life Zone: foothills/montane.
Eco. Relationships: provides shelter and food for birds; species in this genus are anemophilous (wind pollinated); anemophily is an effective pollination mechanism for plants such as this which are very numerous and/or grow in relatively windy regions; fruits are a common food of the Colorado chipmunk, distributed in rocky shrublands and woodlands in the foothills and montane life zones of Colorado; fruits are also an important food for the rock squirrel and Mexican wood rat, found in rocky habitats in the foothills and montane life zones; fruits are an important winter food for coyote; species in this genus are valuable wildlife food, being heavily browsed along with sagebrush by mule deer in late winter and early spring if other forage is not available; both plants are high in volatile oils; if the diet is greater than 30% juniper/sagebrush, rumen microbes are reduced, negatively affecting food assimilation and potentially leading to starvation.

Origin: native

Availability: commonly available.
Landscaping Use: screen, hedge or background specimen.
Moisture Requirement: very low; adapted to dry clay soils.
Light Requirement: full sun.
Soil Requirement: calcareous soils (high calcium content) that are well drained, fine to coarse, pH 7.0 to 8.0.
Landscaping Cultivar: Blue Haven, Cologreen, Gray Gleam, Medora, Moonglow, Table Top Blue, Wichita Blue.

Edibility: fruits of this and related species have been used to make gin, flavor game meats, sauerkraut and German potato salad; Native Americans ate them raw, boiled or ground into meal for cakes; reported medicinal use of berry tea for bladder and urethra infections.
Other Uses: a fragrant wax can be skimmed from boiled berry water.

Version: 3.0.0      Release Date: August 2015       ©2015 Jefferson County ITS

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