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California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
Evergreen Trees (Conifers), Vegetation Around Las Vegas
California Juniper (Juniperus californica)

General: California Juniper (Juniperus californica) is a coniferous (cone-bearing) tree with tiny, scale-like leaves. The cones are round berries about 1/2-inch in diameter. This species is most easily recognized by the multiple trunks that all emerge from ground level.

In southern Nevada, California Juniper is common in the Newberry and South McCullough mountains, and it can be found on rocky ridges in the Virgin Mountains. In the Newberry and South McCullough mountains, it is a common component of the montane vegetation in the Upper Sonoran (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone. This is the dominant species of juniper in southern California.

Look for California Juniper at Christmas Tree Pass and points south and west into southern California.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)

Family: Cypress (Cupressaceae).

Other names:

Plant Form: Large rounded shrub to subtree.

Height: 10 to 30(40) feet.

Trunk: Conspicuously fluted or ridged; branching underground; multiple trunks emerge from the ground.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
Green and reddish-brown cones.

Bark: Reddish-brown, aging to gray.

Branches: Branchlets 3-dimensional (not flattened).

Needles: Scale-like, pitted on the back (gland), denticulate at the margins, pointed. Scales in whorls of 3 and 6-ranked.

Cones: Berry, bluish aging to reddish-brown; 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter, sweet (not resinous), dull reddish brown; 1-3 seeds.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
Arrows point to pits on leaf scales.

Seeds: 1 to 3 per cone, to 1/4-inch long, pointed, angled, brown.

Habitat: Dry flats and slopes.

Elevation: Near sea level to 5,000 feet.

Distribution: California to southern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, south into Baja California.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
Gray bark.

Comments: California Juniper (Juniperus californica) are mostly found to the south of Las Vegas in the mountains of southern California. In Nevada, this species can be found in the mountains around Searchlight and Laughlin (McCullough and Newberry Mountains). This species is also found in the Virgin Mountains at the east end of Lake Mead.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)

Dimples (glands) on scales (white arrows).

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)

Male (left, no cones) and female (right, lots of berries) trees. Note the multiple trunks emerging from the ground.

California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
California Juniper (Juniperus californica)
California Juniper (Juniperus californica) more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 100616

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