Characteristics of Canary Islands Juniper Tree (Juniperus cedrus) in the Wild

Juniperus cedrus
Canary Islands juniper is a species of juniper tree native to the western Canary Islands and Madeira, where it grows at an altitude of 500-2,400 m asl. The tree is closely related to Prickly Juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) which is native to the Mediterranean region and Azores Juniper (Juniperus brevifolia) from the Azores.

This tree is threatened with extinction in its native habitat due to logging for its valuable wood. Today the Canary Islands juniper tree has been protected, since at least 1953 and its population is slowly starting to recover at a very slow pace.

The tallest Canary Islands juniper tree ever found in the past touched 30 meters, although now even 10 meters tall trees are very rare in the wild (except on cliffs where humans/animals cannot reach).

Canary Islands juniper is sometimes grown as an ornamental tree in warm climates, including New Zealand, the British Isles, and California. However, the tree is not common in cultivation given its very slow growth.

There are also several small experimental plantations in the Canary Islands that plant Canary Islands juniper trees, and show growth in good conditions / according to their native habitat, it can reach a height of about 14-15 m in 40 years.

 

Characteristics of Canary Islands Juniper Leaf

Juniperus cedrus Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Cyril Nelson

The leaves are small and needle-shaped, with two white stripes on the top, and grow in three circles.

 

Characteristics of Canary Islands Juniper Fruit

Juniperus cedrus Fruit
Source : flickr.com/PETER GREENWOOD

The fruit is round, about 1 cm in diameter, brown or reddish when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Canary Islands Juniper Tree

Juniperus cedrus Tree
Source : flickr.com/Gerardo GarcĂ­a Casanova

Canary Islands juniper grows to form large shrubs or medium trees 5-20 meters tall, rarely reaching 25 meters even in the wild.

The extraction of the wood shows that Juniperus cedrus essential oil is very rich in thujopsene, which is about 2.2% by weight of the wood core.

 

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