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Tree Campus: Common Juniper

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Common Juniper

Juniperus communis (CUPRESSACEAE)



Northern circumpolar (PNW Native)



"Wild ungulates generally eat only trace amounts of common juniper...

Cones of most junipers are eaten by many species of birds and mammals. Numerous animals, including the American robin and black-capped chickadee, feed on the cones of common juniper whenever they are available. American robins frequently consume large numbers of cones during the spring and fall. In eastern Ontario, cones provide food for cedar and Bohemian waxwings. Wild turkeys also feed on cones of common juniper...

The shade and cover value of common juniper tends to be greatest for birds and small mammals. It provides especially good nesting cover for Merriam's wild turkeys in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In New Jersey, it provides winter roosts for short-eared owls. In the Northwest Territories, common juniper branches are used in woodrat nests...

Common juniper has low value for short-term rehabilitation projects but moderate to high value for long-term rehabilitation projects. It is useful in preventing soil erosion. Houle and Babeux report that common juniper has potential for restoration in the Canadian arctic and subarctic." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Common juniper was used by Native Americans of the Great Basin as a blood tonic. Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest used tonics made from the branches to treat colds, flu, arthritis, muscle aches, and kidney problems. Cones were used by the southern Kwakiutl of British Columbia for treating stomach ailments and wood or bark was used to treat respiratory problems. The Interior Salish used cones to make medicines for a variety of ailments. Eurasians made tonics from common juniper for kidney and stomach ailments, and rheumatism. Common juniper contains a volatile oil, terpinen-4-ol, which is known to increase kidney action. Common juniper extract, which can be fatal in even fairly small amounts, was used to make gin and as a meat preservative... This species was first cultivated in 1560." [1]



"The wood of common juniper is fine grained, durable, and reddish with white sapwood. This wood currently has no commercial value... Domestic livestock rarely utilize common juniper. The foliage may be poisonous to domestic goats, although livestock in parts of Europe have reportedly been fed sprays of common juniper with no ill effects... Common juniper is highly valued as an ornamental. It is widely cultivated and provides good ground cover even on stony or sandy sites." [1]



[1] Tirmenstein, D. 1999. Juniperus communis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2020, July 1].

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