All about common juniper
Juniper is a common plant species. It has a high decorative and medicinal properties. Despite this, many do not even have a clue what a plant looks like, where it can grow and which group it belongs to.
Other names of common juniper
The considered vegetation in ancient times had several different names. They differed depending on the region of growth.
Did you know? Thickets of juniper bushes are often formed where there are coal deposits, which geologists actively use for their own purposes. For example, it was thanks to this feature that the Moscow Region Coal Basin was opened.
The most commonly used names are:
The most popular of all the names that have been preserved until today is juniper. According to some reports, it comes from a combination of the words “between firs”, since this vegetation is most often found as undergrowth in spruce massifs.According to another version, the name originates from the Old Slavonic word "juniper", which in translation means "knot". This is due to the external data of the plant - on the branches of old specimens, the seals resembling nodes in appearance are visible in the places of shoot growth.
The appearance of juniper depends on several factors.
The main ones are:
- varietal affiliation;
- place of growth;
However, all varieties have a number of features on the basis of which a general description can be made. Using this information, it will be easy to distinguish juniper from other plants.
- attitude to light - photophilous, drought-resistant;
- acceptable temperature range –30 ... + 40 ° С;
- reproduction methods - by seeds, cuttings, layering.
Juniper family and genus
The vegetation is represented by the genus Juniper, family Cypress. In Latin, juniper will be called Juniperus communis. The first descriptions of him are found in ancient Greek treatises and myths. At that time, its cultivation was practiced in order to produce drugs. Today, a total of more than 70 wild and decorative species are known.
Shrub or tree, coniferous or deciduous
Juniper is an evergreen coniferous plant. In nature, there are both shrubby and woody forms. It all depends on the zone in which heath will grow. In the northern latitudes, the vegetation is a shrub, in the southern latitudes - a tree. The crown is conical or ovoid, sometimes with shoots drooping at the ends. Bushes can be upright or creeping. Juniper leaf is called a needle or flake.
But these are leaves that have an elongated-lanceolate shape, and not needles, like other conifers. Ordinary juniper has needle-shaped leaf plates. They are trihedral, rigid structure. They reach 1.5 cm in length and 1 mm in width. Covered with a layer of wax coating: it is he who gives various shades to the sheet plates - light green, bluish or golden.
Plant height depends on what form it is presented. In shrubs, it varies within 1-3 m. In trees, this indicator is 8-15 m.
What is the trunk of juniper
In diameter, shrubs can grow up to 0.8–2 m. The trunk of a tree has a thickness within 0.5–1 m. The bark is painted in dark gray or gray-brown, peeling vertically. On the shoots reddish.
Did you know? In cabinets made of juniper wood, moth never starts.
How Juniper Blossoms
Flowering and pollination occurs in May, and in specimens growing in the northern latitudes - in June. In nature, there are monoecious (form only male or female flowers only) and dioecious (male and female flowers form on the same plant) form. The male flower is a yellow spikelet, the female is a green bud. The main difference between juniper and other conifers is the fruit.They are not cones, but cones. In diameter reach 10 mm. Painted in a bright blue color upon reaching full maturity, covered with a wax coating. Ripen for 3 years. Each fruit contains 2 or 3 trihedral ovoid-shaped seeds. Cones have a spicy coniferous aroma. It tastes sweetish, juicy.
Important! Of all the varieties of juniper, only ordinary is edible, but is not eaten raw, but is used in the food industry for the production of seasonings, additives in tea and confectionery. All the rest are poisonous.
How does juniper smell
Like all conifers, heather exudes a pleasant coniferous smell. But he will still be different. The aroma of needles in this species is more subtle, with subtle sweetish woody notes. In varieties such as Cossack and Smelly, the aroma is more pronounced. He is very sharp, even slightly unpleasant.
How many years live
Juniper is a long-lived plant. Its maximum age is 600 years. The first fruiting is observed in 5-10 years. Abundant cone-berry crops appear every 3-5 years. Throughout the entire life cycle, the plant will bloom and bear fruit.
Where is growing
Considered vegetation has a fairly wide range, spreading throughout the world. Its natural habitat is temperate and tropical climatic zones, as well as steppe and forest-steppe.
Places of greatest distribution:
- North America;
- North Africa;
Juniper thickets can be found on any type of soil, but most often they are on dry, depleted. These are mainly sandy sandstones and podzolic soils. However, the plant can also settle in wetlands.
A sufficiently large number of juniper varieties has been isolated. All of them differ in interesting external characteristics and are unpretentious in leaving.
The most popular varieties of juniper ordinary:
- Pyramidal - the cultivated form of the species in question. It is a tree with a narrow crown. The branches begin to grow almost from the earth itself. Pressed to the trunk. The needles are soft, dark green in color. The culture tolerates slight shading, is frost-resistant, and is not demanding on the quality of the soil. Looks good in group landings. Suitable for zoning, the creation of alpine slides and rockeries. Shishkoagody actively used in the alcoholic beverage industry (make gin, vodka), brewing. Also, fruit extract is used as a spicy additive in sweets, sauces.
- Cossack - dioecious bush, rapidly growing in width. Its height does not exceed 1.5 m. The crust is red-brown in color, rough. Scaly-like leaf plates. When cultivating for the purpose of landscaping, it is worth considering that the variety is not very resistant to a disease such as rust. Essential oil is used for the manufacture of external medicines.
- Horizontal - dioecious creeping bush with a height of not more than 0.3 m. Its wood is resistant to decay. The plant is cultivated specifically to create unique landscape compositions. It will look very impressive in combination with shrubby and woody forms. Thanks to creeping shoots, it seems that a green carpet is spread on the ground.
- Daursky - another creeping form. Plant height does not exceed 0.5 m.It grows in breadth due to the formation of roots on shoots, almost lying on the ground. It is used in landscape compositions, as well as for strengthening soil in mountainous terrain. Needles are used in distillery production.
- Coastal - creeping representative of the species in question. Landed on depleted or saline soils. Forms a beautiful gray-green carpet.
How and where is juniper wood used
The wood of the plant described has found wide application in various fields of human activity. High-quality pencils are made from it. The dried juniper wood does not crack and has a high density, which makes it possible to apply fine carvings on it.
The material also has a beautiful structure: it does not have deep resin passages, so it lends itself well to coloring. No less valuable is juniper resin, which is extracted from wood. It is used in the paint industry to produce high-quality white lacquer coating.
Video: cut juniper
The cultivation of the considered group of plants will not cause any trouble. This is ideal for those who are limited in territorial area, but want to grow a coniferous variety. Also, the described plant is suitable for those whose cottage is far away and there is no way to constantly devote much time to care. Planting can be carried out anywhere in the site - the main thing is that it is well lit by the sun.
Minimum shading is acceptable. Landing is carried out in April - May, depending on climate conditions. Seedlings are selected at least 3 years old - they are better to take root. They are sold in 5 liter containers. When transplanting into open ground, it is imperative to maintain an earthen lump. Between large plants leave a distance of 2 m, for small ones 50 cm will be enough.
Important! When planting, make sure that the root neck rises 5-8 cm above the ground. Otherwise, the seedling may not take root.
Landing is carried out by the transshipment method, having previously dug a hole 2 fingers more in diameter and in height than the tank. The planted plant is watered with 5 liters of water, and then mulched with sawdust or peat. The mulch layer should be about 8 cm. Throughout the season, plants should be watered only in extreme heat. For one instance, 10 to 20 liters of water will be required.The trunk circle is loosened once a month. Weeds are regularly removed. Fertilize once a year, in the spring: 30 g of nitroammophos are closed in the trunk circle. Pruning plants do not need. Such manipulation is carried out only when it is necessary to form a hedge. Sanitary pruning is carried out as necessary. At the same time, branches that thicken the crown and grow inward are removed.
Video: common juniper
How to distinguish thuja from juniper and cypress
Thuja and cypress are the closest biological relatives of juniper. It is very easy to distinguish them according to external data. The main difference is that cypress and thuja needles are lamellar, very soft. In juniper leaf plates look like short needles.
The largest juniper in the world
The largest and oldest heather grows in the Crimea at Cape Sarych. It reaches a height of 12 m. The diameter of its trunk is 4.9 m. According to rough estimates, the age of the tree is 2000 years.
Juniper is a coniferous plant widely distributed throughout the world. They are easy to grow without much effort. Due to the high decorativeness, a garden with such vegetation will always look elegant.