Juniperus communis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Juniperus communis
Species Authority: L.
Common Name(s):
English Common Juniper, Prostrate Juniper, Juniper, Malchangel, Mountain Juniper, Dwarf Juniper
French Genévrier, Genévrier commun, Genévrier nain
Spanish Enebro, Ginepro Nano
Juniperus albanica Pénzes
Juniperus argaea Blansa ex Parl. [invalid]
Juniperus borealis Salisb. [illegit.]
Juniperus caucasica Fisch. ex Gordon [invalid]

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-01-25
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Adams, R & Thomas, P.
This is the most widespread species of conifer in the world. While it is struggling to survive in some areas, e.g. England, it is increasing elsewhere; both phenomena in its population dynamics are related to shifts in agricultural practices and general land use. Its var. saxatilis, mainly an arctic-alpine form, is circum-polar in distribution.  Globally, this species or any of its varieties are not threatened with extinction.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Recorded from temperate Eurasia, North Africa, North America N of Mexico. Juniperus communis is the most widely distributed conifer species in the world, with a circumpolar distribution extending from ca. 70° N in Alaska, Scandinavia and Siberia to ca. 28° N in the Himalaya.
Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belgium; Bulgaria; Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland I, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon); China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Xinjiang); Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France (Corsica); Georgia (Abkhaziya); Germany; Gibraltar; Greece (Kriti); Greenland; Hungary; Iceland; India (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Italy (Sardegna); Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Malta; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (Altay, Amur, Buryatiya, Chita, Dagestan, Irkutsk, Kabardino-Balkariya, Kamchatka, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Kuril Is., Magadan, Primoryi, Sakhalin, Severo-Osetiya, Stavropol, Tuva, West Siberia, Yakutiya); San Marino; Serbia (Serbia); Spain (Baleares); Sweden; Switzerland; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming); Uzbekistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Locally very common.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is largely a pioneer woodland species, occupying natural rock outcrops and other places with skeletal soil and abundant sunlight in woodland and light forest, both broad-leaf and coniferous forest (especially Pinus sylvestris-Betula spp.-Quercus spp.), in which it can obtain local dominance after disturbances (non-fire). It is also prevalent in the ecotone between open woodland and grassland on poor sandy soils and on stabilised inland sand dunes. It occurs often with Calluna vulgaris, Erica spp., Vaccinium spp., Arbutus sp., Cytisus scoparius, Ulex sp., Salix spp., and the above mentioned tree genera, in Russia also in grass steppes. The altitude ranges from 5 m to 2,400 m a.s.l. It seems very indifferent to soil type and occurs in dry sand, chalk downs, and loose (dolomitic) scree, as well as in acidic peat, with low or fluctuating ground water levels.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Common Juniper is widely used as an ornamental in parks and gardens, especially the decumbent varieties, and numerous cultivars have been derived from it. The cones ('berries') are used in cooking and in the preparation of alcoholic distilled beverages. Juniperus communis var. communis has been used for a considerable time in European horticulture, where especially the fastigiate habit of some NW European plants is popular, and a number of cultivars have been obtained by selection. Juniperus communis var. saxatilis, being a prostrate shrub, is a useful plant in horticulture, where it is usually known as J. communis var. montana or var. nana, or under a number of cultivar names (= vegetatively propagated clones) selected for dwarfed growth, branching habit, foliage colour, etc.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No range wide threats have been identified for this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in many protected areas across its range.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Juniperus communis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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