Characteristics of Large-Fruited Juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa) in the Wild

Juniperus macrocarpa
The Large-Fruited Juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa syn Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa) is a species of conifer tree native to the Mediterranean and Black Sea coastal regions of northwest Africa, southern and eastern Europe, and Asia Minor. Its distribution is from Portugal southeast to Cyprus reaching Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Turkey.

Juniperus macrocarpa was described in 1816 by James Edward Smith based on a document by John Sibthorp, who died in 1796, in Florae Graecae Prodromus, the forerunner of the main work Flora Graeca.

This species is referred to in most sources as the subspecies Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa. Robert P. Adams recognized the species status and placed this juniper species in the geographical group “European Juniper, Canary Islands, Azores, Asia Minor, and Africa”.

Several synonym names of Juniperus macrocarpa have been recognized including:

  • Juniperus attica
  • Juniperus biasolettii
  • Juniperus communis var. macrocarpa
  • Juniperus elliptica
  • Juniperus lobelii
  • Juniperus major
  • Juniperus neaboriensis
  • Juniperus oblongata
  • Juniperus oxycedrus var. globose
  • Juniperus oxycedrus var. lobelii
  • Juniperus oxycedrus var. macrocarpa
  • Juniperus sphaerocarpa
  • Juniperus umbilicata
  • Juniperus willkommii
  • Sabina phoenicea var. lobelii

 

Characteristics of Large-Fruited Juniper Leaf

Juniperus macrocarpa Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/philippe-rabaute

The leaves are needle-shaped, green, 12-20 mm long, and 2-2.5 mm wide, with white double stomata.

 

Characteristics of Large-Fruited Juniper

Juniperus macrocarpa Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/ldacosta

Cones are berry-like, round, 12–18 mm in diameter, green, and turn orange-red in 18 months. Each cone has six scales fused in two circles, three scales with one seed.

 

Characteristics of Large-Fruited Juniper Tree

Juniperus macrocarpa Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/sindic

Juniperus macrocarpa grows as a large shrub with a height of 2-5 meters, rarely growing into a small tree up to 10 meters high. The tree grows naturally in sandy hills and sea sands, rarely in bare littoral soil or rocky areas.

This species is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The male specimens had visible reddish-brown strobili, while the female had slightly visible greenish strobili. In general, both types of strobili tend to be arranged in peripheral branches to support their anemophilic pollination as much as possible.

 

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