The Sierra Juniper, long known as Western Juniper, or merely Juniper, is, when not suppressed by environment, bent or twisted on rocks and steep mountain sides, a sturdy grizzly of the high altitudes ranging in size from 40 to 80 feet high with a trunk diameter of from 16 to 40 inches. It is a slow-growing, long-lived tree. The crown is open and well-rounded but the limbs may extend almost to the ground. The trunk is chunky with straight grooves and ridges, is sometimes twisted and bent, has long strong roots, and frequently divides into huge upright limbs a few feet from the base. The bark, which is ﬁrm and stringy, is about one-half to one and one-half inches thick, and a clear light-cinnamon-brown in color. The evergreen leaves, a pale ashy-green color, are short, scale-like, cling closely to the still twigs, and overlap one another in groups of three. On the younger trees the leaves are stiff and sharp. The leaf is peculiar in that on the back of each is a glandular pit ﬁlled with a whitish resin which, when crushed, gives off an aromatic pungent odor. The leaf juice is sometimes used for medicinal purposes. The “berries” which are blue-black in color covered with a whitish bloom, have a tough skin and are slightly more than one-quarter inch in diameter. They mature the second year. Indians and birds relish these berries which are sweetish and have a pungently aromatic odor.
- Sierra Juniper (Calif.)
- Cedar (Idaho)
- Juniper (Oreg., Calif., Idaho)
- Western Cedar (Idaho)
- Western Juniper (Calif., lit.)
- Western Red Cedar
- Yellow Cedar (Mont.)
The growth range of Sierra Juniper extends from southern Washington and Idaho southward through Oregon and California. The tree favors exposed slopes, canyon sides and the rocky soils of mountain regions in the higher elevations, widely distributed from 2,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level.
Like other Junipers, the wood is fine grained, aromatic, soft, brittle and splits easily. The heartwood is a pale brown or tan tinged with purplish red, and the sapwood is very thin and nearly white. It works very well with tools and takes a ﬁne ﬁnish. Juniper wood closely resembles cedar but is ﬁner grained. It has very attractive coloring, and is enhanced by the many solid knots which occur.
Because of its short, stocky trunk not a great deal of usable lumber may be cut from it. However, it is comparable with other junipers and cedars for lead pencil stock, and is used for posts and fuel. The wood would make excellent material for wooden novelties because of its grain, color, workability and ﬁnishing qualities.
|384||Juniperus Occidentalis (Hooker)
Juniperus occidentalis subsp. australis, below Lake Aloha, Tahoe Rim Trail, California-Nevada border.
Attribution: Brewbooks at Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
|382||Sierra Juniper Tree Bark
Juniperus occidentalis var. australis, eastern Sierra Nevada, Rock Creek Canyon, California.
Attribution: Wilson44691 [Public domain]
|385||Sierra Juniper Berries
Common juniper var. depressa berries (Juniperus communis var. depressa), Unorganized Algoma (Kincaid Twp.), Ontario
Attribution: Fungus Guy [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
|386||168. Juniperus Occidentialis, Hook.
Plate No. 168 Juniperus Occidentialis cross section plate.
Reference: An Index to “The American Woods” by Romeyn B. Hough. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/forestry/hough/toc.html. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.
|387||Juniper Jewelry Box
Western Juniper jewelry box by unknown maker.
Reference: Forestry, Oregon Department of. Juniper Jewelry Box. 15 Dec. 2014. Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondepartmentofforestry/17259000831/.
|381||Sierra Juniper Range Map
Range map of Juniperus occidentalis
Dark green: Juniperus occidentalis subsp. occidentalis
Light green: Juniperus occidentalis subsp. australis
Attribution: By U.S. Geological Survey - Digital representation of "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22087760