Juniperus osteosperma 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Cupressaceae

Scientific Name: Juniperus osteosperma
Species Authority: (Torr.) Little
Common Name(s):
English Utah Juniper, Bigberry Juniper
Spanish Sabina Morena
Juniperus tetragona Schltdl. variety osteosperma Torr.
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-08
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Adams, R & Thomas, P.

Juniperus osteosperma is the most wide-spread species of juniper in the extensive Pinyon-Juniper woodland formation of the SW USA; it has little commercial value and occurs often on rocky escarpments and plateaus where few other plants get a foothold. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to western USA: Arizona, E California, Colorado, S Idaho, S Montana, Nevada, W New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming)
Lower elevation limit (metres): 460
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2700
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: An aggressive juniper, invading grasslands in Utah. Current control/eradication programs are unlikely to control it, as fire control is so good (and desired by the public).
Current Population Trend: Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: No
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is a codominant in the widespread Pinyon-Juniper woodland of the Intermountain Region of the American West, with Pinus edulis, P. monophylla (in the SW of its range), P. cembroides (in the S of its range), Juniperus scopulorum, J. occidentalis (in the W of its range), Seriphidium tridentatum (Artemisia tridentata), Chrysothamnus spp., Quercus gambelii, and Ephedra viridis, or in pure stands at the lower altitudinal limits of the community. The altitudinal range is 460-2,700 m a.s.l. Juniperus osteosperma is abundant on rocky or gravelly alluvial fans and hillsides, as well as on bare sandstone or shale where it finds crevices in the rock to grow in. It is one of the most drought resistant junipers in North America.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: No
Generation Length (years): 50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In many arid places on the Colorado Plateau and elsewhere in its extensive range, this species of juniper is the most important small tree providing important habitat for wildlife. Its use for firewood is now incidental and its contorted habit when growing older precludes most other uses of its wood. In regions with dry and hot summers it could be used in gardens; it is very hardy as it occurs naturally in continental climate and at high altitudes

Threats [top]

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

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in many protected areas, among which are famous national parks, in the (semi-)arid southwest.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Juniperus osteosperma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42241A2965708. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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