Characteristics of Cherrystone Juniper Tree (Juniperus monosperma) in the Wild

Juniperus monosperma
Cherrystone juniper or Single-seed juniper is a species of juniper tree native to North America, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, western Texas, and Mexico’s northernmost Chihuahua. This tree grows at an altitude of 1,000-2500 m above sea level.

The Cherrystone juniper tree is rare it is said to be extinct in Mexico, with only one herbarium collection from 1880 is verified.

Recent searches failed to find trees living in the wild. However, the species closely related to it Juniperus angosturana, is considered to be its variety, namely Juniperus monosperma var. gracilis Martínez. Although it differs from the original Juniperus monosperma, it is mainly due to its slimmer shoots with a diameter of 1-1.3 mm.

 

Characteristics of Juniper Cherrystone Leaf

Juniperus monosperma Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Cibola National Forest and Grassland

The leaves are 1-2 mm long and 0.6-1.5 mm wide. In young leaves, it can reach 10 mm in length which is arranged in alternating circles of three or opposite pairs. Young and long leaves are only found on young trees.

 

Characteristics of Juniper Cherrystone Fruit

Juniperus monosperma Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Pecos Valley Diamond

The fruit is like a berry, ovate, 5-7 mm long, whitish-blue when young and dark blue when ripe. Each fruit contains one seed (rarely two or three), and the fruit ripens in about 6-8 months.

The male fruit is 2-4 mm long and emits pollen in late winter. Usually dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, but occasionally monoecious is found.

 

Characteristics of Juniper Cherrystone Tree

Juniperus monosperma Tree
Source : flickr.com/Bryant Olsen

Cherrystone juniper grows as a shrub or small tree that grows to 2-7 meters (rarely up to 10 meters) tall, has many branches and has a dense crown.

The bark is brownish gray, peeling, and behind the peeled skin looks bright orange brownish wood.

Cherrystone juniper trees like rocky or sandy soil and full sun all day long. It also has deep roots to find water in the soil. The deepest roots of this tree can reach 60 meters, making it the second deepest root tree after the Shepherd tree (Boscia albitrunca).

 

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