Tag Archives: Pinophyta

Picea mariana

Botanical Name: Picea mariana
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. mariana
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms: P. nigra. Abies mariana. Pinus nigra.

Common Names: Black Spruce, Swamp Spruce

Habitat :Picea mariana is native to Northern N. America – Alaska to Newfoundland and south to British Columbia and W. Virginia. It grows on the cool slopes and bogs. Found on well-drained soils in the north of its range and swamps in the south.Found on a variety of soil types, it grows best in those that are moist and acidic.
Description:
Picea mariana is a slow-growing, small upright evergreen coniferous tree (rarely a shrub), having a straight trunk with little taper, a scruffy habit, and a narrow, pointed crown of short, compact, drooping branches with upturned tips. Through much of its range it averages 5–15 m (15–50 ft) tall with a trunk 15–50 cm (6–20 in) diameter at maturity, though occasional specimens can reach 30 m (98 ft) tall and 60 cm (24 in) diameter. The bark is thin, scaly, and grayish brown. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The leaves are needle-like, 6–15 mm (1/4–9/16 in) long, stiff, four-sided, dark bluish green on the upper sides, paler glaucous green below. The cones are the smallest of all of the spruces, 1.5–4 cm (1/2–1 1/2 in) long and 1–2 cm (1/2–3/4 in) broad, spindle-shaped to nearly round, dark purple ripening red-brown, produced in dense clusters in the upper crown, opening at maturity but persisting for several years. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal.

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The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Cultivation:
Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6 and dislikes shallow chalky soils. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure. This tree is one of the most widespread and abundant species in N. America where it is extensively utilized as a timber tree. A short lived and slow growing tree both in the wild and in cultivation. New growth takes place from early May to the end of June and rarely exceeds 60 cm even when young and is less as the tree grows old. Trees have been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe (this appears to contradict the previous statement that the tree is slow growing. The reason is probably that it is either planted in areas too harsh for most trees to grow or it is only slow growing in milder areas such as Britain). A prolific seed-producer, usually beginning to bear cones at around 10 years of age. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Closely related to P. rubens. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Lower branches often self-layer and form a ring of stems around the parent plant. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure. Layering. Lower branches often layer naturally in the wild.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are 1 – 4cm in diameter. Inner bark – cooked. It is usually harvested in the spring and can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. A tea is also made from the needles and the bark. A gum obtained from the bark is collected in considerable quantities and used for chewing. Hardened blobs make an excellent chewing gum. It should be aged for 3 days or more before using it. The best gum is obtained from the southern side of the tree. Another report says that the gum, called ‘spruce gum’, is a resinous exudation collected from the branches. A source of ‘spruce oil’, used commercially for flavouring. The young twigs are boiled with molasses, sugar etc and then fermented to produce ‘Spruce beer’. The beer is ready to drink in a week and is considered to be a good source of minerals and vitamins.
Medicinal Uses:
A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to inflammations. A tea made from the inner bark is a folk remedy for kidney stones, stomach problems and rheumatism. An infusion of the roots and bark has been used in the treatment of stomach pains, trembling and fits. A resin from the trunk is used as a poultice and salve on sores to promote healing. The resin can be mixed with oil and used as a dressing on purulent wounds, bad burns, skin rashes, scabies and persistent scabs. The resin can be chewed as an aid to digestion. A decoction of the gum or leaves has been used in treating respiratory infections and kidney problems. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a bath or a rub in treating dry skin or sores. A decoction of the young twigs has been used in the treatment of coughs. A decoction of the cones has been drunk in the treatment of diarrhoea. A decoction has been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats. The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and toothaches.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen. Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil.

A yellow-orange dye is obtained from the cones. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this species and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes, to sew baskets etc. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used as a sealing material on the hulls of canoes. Wood – light, soft, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Since it is a smaller tree than the other spruces, it is not an important lumber source for uses such as construction. However, it is widely used for making boxes, crates etc, and is valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper, plus it is also used as a fuel.

Known Hazards : The sawdust, the resin from the trunk and even the needles can cause dermatitis in some people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_mariana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+mariana

Abies concolor

Botanical Name: Abies concolor
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. concolor
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms : Picea concolor.

Common Names: Colorado Fir, White fir

Habitat :Abies concolor is a fir native to the mountains of western North America(Oregon to California, to Arizona and New Mexico.), occurring at elevations of 900–3,400 m (3,000–11,200 ft).It is found on a wide range of soils, but preferring moist soils with a humid climate and a long winter from 700 metres to 3,400 metres.
Description:
Abies concolor is a medium to large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 25–60 m (82–197 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m (6.6 ft).
The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 2.5–6 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5–1 mm thick, green to glaucous blue-green above, and with two glaucous blue-white bands of stomatal bloom below, and slightly notched to bluntly pointed at the tip. The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they all lie in either two more-or-less flat ranks on either side of the shoot, or upswept across the top of the shoot but not below the shoot.

The cones are 6–12 cm long and 4–4.5 cm broad, green or purple ripening pale brown, with about 100–150 scales; the scale bracts are short, and hidden in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6 months after pollination

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind. It is popular as an ornamental landscaping tree and as a Christmas tree. It is sometimes known as concolor fir.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:

Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. Trees succeed on poor dry sites in the wild. Trees are shallow rooted and therefore liable to be wind-blown in exposed sites. Trees grow almost as well in S. Britain as they do in cooler areas of the country. They are at their best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland and in N.E. England, trees in the south and east of the country tend to be thin in the crown and soon lose their shape. Trees in the west grow better but also lose their shape after a while. New growth is from mid-May to July and trees are virtually never damaged by late frosts or aphis. Most trees of this species that are grown in Britain are in fact the sub-species A. concolor lowiana. (Gordon.)Lemmon. This form tends to grow better in Britain than the type. There are 2 basic forms of this sub-species, those from the north of the range are vigorous in height growth whilst the southern form is vigorous in girth growth. They both have a potential for forestry use in Britain. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. A very ornamental tree. The crushed leaves have a strong lemony scent. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, There are no flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position.
Medicinal Uses:
The pitch from the trunk has been used as an antiseptic poultice for cuts, wounds etc. An infusion of the pitch, or the bark, has been used in the treatment of TB. An infusion of the foliage has been used in a bath for relieving rheumatism. An infusion of the pitch and leaves has been used in the treatment of pulmonary complaints.

Other Uses: .

Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Firewood, Pest tolerant, Screen, Specimen.
A tan coloured dye can be obtained from the bark. Wood – very light, not strong, coarse grained, soft, not durable. Used mainly for pulp, cases etc. It is sometimes used in framing small houses but is not strong enough to be used in larger buildings. The wood lacks a distinctive odour and so does not impart a flavour to items stored in it. Thus it can be used for making tubs for storing food.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provid.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_concolor
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Abies+concolor

Picea abies

Botanical Name: Picea abies
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. abies
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms: P. excelsa, Abies picea, Pinus abies

Common Names: Norway spruce

Habitat :Picea abies is native to Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Description:
Picea abies is a large, fast-growing evergreen coniferous tree growing 35–55 m (115–180 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of 1 to 1.5 m. It can grow fast when young, up to 1 m (3 ft) per year for the first 25 years under good conditions, but becomes slower once over 20 m (66 ft) tall.[4] The shoots are orange-brown and glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like, 12–24 mm long, quadrangular in cross-section (not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous stomatal lines. The cones are 9–17 cm long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply triangular-pointed scale tips. They are green or reddish, maturing brown 5–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 4–5 mm long, with a pale brown 15 mm wing.

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The tallest measured Norway spruce, 62,26 m (204 ft) tall, grows near Ribnica na Pohorju, Slovenia
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. Bloom Color is Pink and the form is like pyramid. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Screen, Specimen. Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil.Succeeds in most soils including those that are wet cold and shallow, but it is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Intolerant of chalky or poor acid soils. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade[200] according to one report whilst another says that it is moderately shade tolerant. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree and is tolerant of saline winds. A very cold-hardy tree when fully dormant, though the young shoots are subject to injury by late frosts, though less so than P. sitchensis. A fast growing tree, it is widely planted in cool temperate zones for its wood. Young trees often grow 1 metre or more a year and can sustain an average of 60cm for at least the first 60 years though growth tails off as they grow older. Probably not that long-lived in Britain, about 200 years seems the absolute maximum. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by ‘acid rain’ pollution. There are many named varieties, almost all of them dwarf forms. A food plant for many caterpillars. A very aggressive tree, it is hostile to other trees. Susceptible to attacks by bark beetles so it should be kept away from more valuable trees. A biological control is being introduced (1983). This species is susceptible to honey fungus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. The seed is shed in spring, the cones release their seed whilst they are still on the tree. The bruised leaves emit a delicious musky smell. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, used when all else fails. Seed – raw. Rich in oil and with a pleasant slightly resinous flavour, but too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. These tips are also used in making spruce beer
Medicinal Uses:
The buds, leaves and resin are antibiotic, antiseptic, balsamic, expectorant, sedative. A pitch, or resin, obtained from the trunk is rubefacient and stimulant. It is used externally in plasters etc for its healing and antiseptic properties. A poultice of the sap or gum has been used in the treatment of boil and abscess pain.

Other Uses:
The tree is a source of pitch (Burgundy pitch) and turpentine (Jura turpentine). Burgundy pitch is used as a varnish and in medicinal plasters. It is a strong adhesive. The turpentine is a waterproofer and wood preservative. They are obtained by incisions in the trunk, the resin is scraped out some months later. An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery. The seed contains 30% of a fatty oil, this is used in the production of a varnish. The bark contains some tannin. Both the bark and bark extract have been widely used in Europe as a source of tannin, the bark containing up to 13% tannin. Yields of tannin have been doubled by heating or steaming the bark as soon as possible after the tree has been felled. A fairly wind resistant tree and fast growing, it can be planted in shelterbelts to provide protection from the wind. The dwarf cultivar ‘Inversa’ can be grown as a ground cover plant in a sunny position. The cultivars ‘Reflexa’ and ‘Procumbens’ can also be used. They are best spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Wood – medium hard, fairly elastic, durable under water, light in weight and colour. Used for general carpentry, joinery, musical instruments etc. Valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea_abies
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+abies

Cephalotaxus fortunei

Botanical Name: Cephalotaxus fortunei
Family: Cephalotaxaceae
Genus: Cephalotaxus
Species: C. fortunei
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms: C. filiformis. C. mascula. C. pendula.

Common Names: Chinese plum-yew, Simply plum yew, Chinese cowtail pine or in Chinese as san jian shan

Habitat:Cephalotaxus fortunei is native to northern Burma and China, but is sometimes grown in western gardens where it has been in cultivation since 1848 . It grows on woodlands, especially in limestone regions. Mixed, coniferous, and broad-leaved forests, thickets and roadsides at elevations of 200 – 3700 metres.

Description:
Cephalotaxus fortunei is a shrub or small tree growing to as high as 20 m with a diameter at breast height of about 20 cm. They are usually multi-stemmed with an open and loosely rounded crown. In cultivation they tend to grow on a single stem that is often leaning and bare towards the bottom, but with dense foliage on the upper half. They have reddish brown bark that appears purplish in places with rough square scales and long shreds peeling off. The new shoots remain green for three years after emerging and are ribbed. The branches are slightly pendulous, while the branchlets are obovate, obtriangular or almost rectangular in outline, measuring from 4 to 21 cm long by 3 to 20 cm wide.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil
Cultivation:
Prefers a moist well-drained sandy soil but succeeds in most soils though it dislikes dry gravelly or chalky soils. Prefers a position in semi-shade but tolerates full shade and it also succeeds but does not usually thrive in full sun. It grows very well in the mild wet coastal region of W. Scotland where it succeeds even in full sun. Requires a humid sheltered site, strongly disliking very exposed positions. Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. The Chinese plum yew is a very slow growing shrub or small tree that has excellent potential as a nut crop in Britain. It usually fruits regularly and well in most parts of the country and does well in Cornwall. Trees growing in the shade of other conifers fruit regularly and heavily at Kew Botanical gardens and, unlike most nut trees there, the seeds do not get eaten by the squirrels. Although we have seen no records of edibility for the seed of this species, the closely related C. harringtonia does have edible seed. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value. ‘Grandis’ is a long leafed female form. ‘Longifolia’ is male but otherwise similar to ‘Grandis’. ‘Prostrata’ (syn ‘Prostrate Spreader’) is a procumbent ground-covering plant that arose as cuttings from a side-shoot of a normal plant, a plant of this cultivar was seen with a very heavy crop of immature fruit in mid September 1994 at Hillier Arboretum. Plants are dioecious, but female plants sometimes produce fruits and infertile seeds in the absence of any male plants. However, at least one male plant for every five females should be grown if you are growing the plants for fruit and seed. Plants have also been known to change sex. Male cones are produced in the axils of the previous year’s leaves, whilst female cones are borne at the base of branchlets.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it should then germinate in the following spring. A hard seedcoat can delay germination, especially in if the seed is not sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be cold-stratified and sown in a cold frame in the spring. Germination can take 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter under cover. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Greenwood cuttings of terminal shoots, August/September in a humid cold frame. Difficult
Edible Uses:
Fruit. Fairly large, it is about 30mm x 15mm. We have no further details, though it is closely related to C. harringtonia, the fruit of which is edible raw if fully ripe. The fruit does not always ripen in Britain, before full ripeness it has a disgusting resinous flavour that coats the mouth and refuses to go away for hours. It is quite possible that the seed of this species is also edible.
Medicinal Uses:
Cancer.

Substances from the plant have shown anticancer activity.

Other Uses:
Hedge; Hedge.

Some forms of this species are procumbent in habit and can be used as ground cover in shady places. Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalotaxus_fortunei
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cephalotaxus+fortunei

Juniperus communis

Botanical Name :Juniperus communis
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus:     Juniperus
Species: J. communis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class:     Pinopsida
Order:     Pinales

Synonyms: Genévrier. Ginepro. Enebro. Gemeiner Wachholder.

Common Name:Juniper Berries

Parts Used: The ripe, carefully dried fruits, leaves.

Habitat:Juniperus communis is native to  Europe. North Africa. North Asia. North America. It grows throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30°N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia.

Description:
Juniperus communis is a shrub or small coniferous evergreen tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. It has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated.

Leaf: Persistent, linear-lanceolate (sword-like), about 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, and ternate (arranged in whorls of 3); white stomatal bloom above and green below; sessile (no petiole).

Flower: Species is mostly dioecious, rarely monoecious; male cones small, yellow and solitary; female cones small, round and solitary.

Fruit: Cones are small (about 1/4 inch diameter) and round with smooth, leathery scales; green when young and bluish black when mature, but always covered with white bloom, require 3 growing seasons to mature.

Twig: Slender, smooth, and often shiny; triangular between the nodes.

Bark: Mature bark is thin (less than 1/4 inch thick), shreddy, and red- to gray-brown.

Form: Most commonly grow as prostrate, mat-forming shrubs, but sometimes as upright shrubs or small trees.
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The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4–12 mm diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2–3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in March–April.

Edible Uses:
Its astringent blue-black seed cones, commonly known as “juniper berries“, are too bitter to eat raw and are usually sold dried and used to flavour meats, sauces, and stuffings. They are generally crushed before use to release their flavour. Since juniper berries have a strong taste, they should be used sparingly. They are generally used to enhance meat with a strong flavour, such as game, including game birds, or tongue.

The cones are used to flavour certain beers and gin (the word “gin” derives from an Old French word meaning “juniper”).   In Finland, juniper is used as a key ingredient in making sahti, a traditional Finnish ale. Also the Slovak alcoholic beverage Borovi?ka and Dutch Genever are flavoured with juniper berry or its extract.

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents:  The principal constituent is the volatile oil, with resin, sugar, gum, water, lignin, wax and salines. The oil is most abundant just before the perfect ripeness and darkening of the fruit, when it changes to resin. The quantity varies from 2.34 to 0.31 per cent Juniper Camphor is also present, its melting-point being 1.65 to 1.66 degrees C.

The tar is soluble in Turpentine oil, but not in 95 per cent acetic acid.

Junol is the trade name of a hydroalcoholic extract.

Oil of Juniper is given as a diuretic, stomachic, and carminative in indigestion, flatulence, and diseases of the kidney and bladder. The oil mixed with lard is also used in veterinary practice as an application to exposed wounds and prevents irritation from flies.

Spirit of Juniper has properties resembling Oil of Turpentine: it is employed as a stimulating diuretic in cardiac and hepatic dropsy.

The fruit is readily eaten by most animals, especially sheep, and is said to prevent and cure dropsy in the latter.

The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics in dropsy depending on heart, liver or kidney disease. It imparts a violet odour to the urine, and large doses may cause irritation to the passages. An infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours.

Juniper berries have long been used as medicine by many cultures. Juniper berries act as a strong urinary tract disinfectant if consumed, and were used by Navajo people as an herbal remedy for diabetes. Western American tribes combined the berries of Juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in a herbal tea. Native Americans also used juniper berries as a  contraceptive.(Dioscorides’ De materia medica also lists juniper berries, when crushed and put on the penis or vagina before intercourse, as a contraceptive.)

Other Uses:
The berries are used for the production of the volatile oil which is a prime ingredient in Geneva or Hollands Gin, upon which its flavour and diuretic properties depend.

Crafts:
It is too small to have any general lumber usage. In Scandinavia, however, juniper wood is used for making containers for storing small quantities of dairy products such as butter and cheese, and also for making wooden butter knives. It was also frequently used for trenails in wooden shipbuilding by shipwrights for its tough properties.

In Estonia juniper wood is valued for its long lasting and pleasant aroma, very decorative natural structure of wood (growth rings) as well as good physical properties of wood due to slow growth rate of juniper and resulting dense and strong wood. Various decorative items (often eating utensils) are common in most Estonian handicraft shops and households.

According to the old tradition, on Easter Monday Kashubian (Northern Poland) boys chase girls whipping their legs gently with juniper twigs. This is to bring good fortune in love to the chased girls.

Adulteration by oil of Turpentine can be recognized by the lowering of the specific gravity.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniperus_communis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/j/junipe11.html
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=212