juniper(redirected from Junipers)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
juniper,any tree or shrub of the genus Juniperus, aromatic evergreens of the family Cupressaceae (cypresscypress,
common name for members of the Cupressaceae, a widely distributed family of coniferous shrubs and trees, several yielding valuable timber. The major genera are Juniperus (juniper), Thuja (arborvitae), and Cupressus (the true cypresses).
..... Click the link for more information. family), widely distributed over the north temperate zone. Many are valuable as a source of lumber and oil. The small fleshy cones are berrylike in appearance. The so-called common juniper (J. communis) is found throughout the genus range and is also much cultivated in different varieties, e.g., dwarf and pyramidal. Its cones are the juniper berries used for flavoring gin and other beverages and sometimes in cooking. The juniper most common in North America is usually called red cedar (J. virginiana) and is found over most of the E United States. Its fragrant, insect-repellent wood, closegrained but brittle, is much used for chests, closets, posts, woodenware, and pencils, for which uses the large forests of these trees have been depleted. Oil of red cedar has been used in medicine, perfumery, and microscopy. It is the alternate host of the apple-cedar rust. West of the Mississippi, J. virginiana can be an invasive species in grasslands and grazing lands, detrimentally affecting ecosystems and agriculture. Other trees are sometimes called red cedar. Western juniper, J. occidentalis, of the W United States (not to be confused with the western arborvitaearborvitae
[Lat.,=tree of life], aromatic evergreen tree of the genus Thuja of the family Cupressaceae (cypress family), with scalelike leaves borne on flattened branchlets of a fanlike appearance and with very small cones.
..... Click the link for more information. , although both are also called western red cedar) has edible cones. Native Americans also used the cones of other Western species as food and the bark for fiber. Junipers have been used for incense in Asia and by the Plains people in religious ceremonies. Juniper is classified in the division Pinophyta, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales, family Cupressaceae.
any one coniferous plant of the genus Juniperus of the family Cupressaceae. Junipers are monecious or dioecious evergreen trees and shrubs, having an erect or prostrate habit. The leaves are opposite or in whorls. In some species the leaves are scalelike and decurrent on the shoots; in others, sharp, needlelike, and spreading. The cones, which mature in the first, second, or third year, are fleshy. Junipers form thickets among the undergrowth of light forests, along forest edges, in open areas, in sandy regions, and along dry rocky mountain slopes.
There are about 60 species of junipers, distributed in the northern hemisphere. Of the approximately 20 species in the USSR, eight grow in the Caucasus and seven in Middle Asia. The common, or dwarf, juniper (Juniperus communis) is wide-spread in the forest zone. A dioecious shrub or sapling measuring 1–5 m in height, it has needlelike leaves in whorls of three. The berrylike cones have one to three seeds and are blue-black, often with a thin bluish coating; they mature in the second year. The cones contain 0.5–1.5 percent essential oil, which is used to give aroma to wines and liqueurs. The savin (J. sabina), which grows on mountain slopes from Southern Europe to Central Asia, is a low prostrate shrub with an unpleasant odor; it is up to 1.5 m in height and has scalelike leaves and brown-black, drooping, berrylike cones on the ends of short shoots. The young branches of the savin contain an essential oil, which is used in the manufacture of cosmetics.
In the eastern United States there are forests of eastern red cedars (J. virginiana), trees measuring up to 15–30 m in height. Their light and soft wood, with pinkish heartwood, can be easily cut and chopped; it is used mainly in the manufacture of pencils. The wood also yields an oil used as an insecticide and an immersion oil for microscopes. The eastern red cedar is cultivated in Middle Asia, the Caucasus, and the Ukraine (including the Crimea).
Junipers are ornamentals and are often grown in gardens. The ripe dried fruit is used in medicine in tincture form as a diuretic; it is also used in diuretic mixtures (teas).
REFERENCESDerev’iai kustarniki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Dallimore, W., and Jackson, A. B. A Handbook of Coniferae and Ginkgoaceae, 4th ed. London, 1966.
V. N. GLADKOVA