Characteristics of Formosan Juniper Tree (Juniperus formosana) in the Wild

Juniperus formosana
Formosan juniper (Juniperus formosana) is a species of juniper and a member of the family Cupressaceae native to China and Taiwan.

The natural range of Formosan juniper is in China and Taiwan. In China, they can be found in Southern Anhui, Western Fujian, Eastern Gansu, Guizhou, Western Hubei, Southern Hunan, Southern Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Northeastern Qinghai, Southern Shaanxi, Sichuan, Southern Xizang, Yunnan, and in Zhejiang.

Formosan juniper thrives at an altitude of 200-3,600 m above sea level. In its natural habitat, it grows mainly in Yushania forests and evergreen mixed forests.

The tree was first described as Juniperus formosana in 1908 by Hayata Bunz in the Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University of Tokyo, Volume 25, Article 19, Page 209, Plate 38. A synonym for Juniperus formosana is Juniperus chekiangensis.

 

Characteristics of Formosan Juniper Leaf

Juniperus formosana Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/chienchihcheng

The leaves are needle-like, green, 1.2-2.0 cm long, 1.2-2 mm wide, and have a pointed tip. The three of them stood up and were together in a circle. The underside of the leaf is straightened and there are two white stomata bands at the top of the needle.

 

Characteristics of Formosan Juniper Fruit

Juniperus formosana Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/forestmimi

Male cones are round to elliptical with a diameter of 4-6 mm. The female cones are spherical to the ovoid with a length of 6-9 mm. When ripe, they are orange to dark red-brown and sometimes have a blue-green tint.

Each cone contains three seeds. The seeds are oval to triangular, 4-5 mm long, and 3-3.5 mm wide. Each seed has three to four teeth and three to four resin holes in its base.

 

Characteristics of Formosan Juniper Tree

Juniperus formosana Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/bieshine

Formosan juniper grows as a shrub or small multi-stemmed tree that can reach a height of 20-25 meters. The bark is brown, fibrous, and peeling. The crown is pyramidal to cylindrical. The branches are varied, straight, rising to droop.

 

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