Characteristics of Creeping Juniper Tree (Juniperus horizontalis) in the Wild

Juniperus horizontalis
Creeping juniper or Creeping cedar is a species of a coniferous shrub native to North America. Its distribution area starts from Yukon, Newfoundland, Alaska, Montana, Maine, Wyoming, and Illinois.

This tree is closely related to Virginian juniper (Juniperus virginiana), and often grows side by side in wilds such as in southern Canada.

There are more than 100 cultivars of Juniperus horizontalis that have been selected for use as ornamental trees in gardens, due to their growth which forms a low shrub for ground cover. Some of the popular cultivars include:

  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’
  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Acres’
  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Emerald Spreader’
  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Green Acres’
  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’

Many cultivars have very shiny and beautiful looking foliage, while others are bright green, yellowish, brownish, silvery, and more.


Characteristics of Creeping Juniper Leaf

Juniperus horizontalis Leaf
Source : Hollinger

The leaves are in pairs, opposites, or sometimes in triple whorls. Adult blades are scaly-shaped, 1-2 mm long (8 mm at the shoot), 1-1.5 mm wide, and originate from attached petioles. Juvenile leaves appear only on a sapling, needle-like, 5-10 mm long.


Characteristics of Creeping Juniper Fruit

Juniperus horizontalis Fruit
Source : reed

The fruit is like a berry, round, 5-7 mm in diameter, dark blue with white wax. Each fruit contains two seeds (rarely one or three), the fruit ripens in about 18 months.

The male fruit is 2-4 mm long and releases pollen in early spring. Dioecious juniper creeping, which only produces the fruit of one sex on each tree.


Characteristics of Creeping Juniper Tree

Juniperus horizontalis Tree
Source : Pogorelov

The Creeping juniper tree grows as a low shrub that reaches only 20-50 cm high, but it often spreads over several meters.

This tree is very important and valued as a complementary ornamental tree in a garden and sometimes its adult tree is used as a bonsai subject.


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