Characteristics of Prickly Juniper Tree (Juniperus oxycedrus) in the Wild

Juniperus oxycedrus
Prickly juniper or Cade is a species of juniper tree native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco, Portugal, France, Iran, Lebanon, and Israel. The tree grows in various rocky and sandy places that are dry and exposed to full sun all day long.

The prickly juniper tree was found growing at an altitude of 1,600 m asl. The tree’s popular nickname is “sharp cedar” and the species may have been a cedar or cedrus native to the ancient Greeks.

The prickly juniper tree produces Cade Oil that is aromatic and is often used as an ingredient in cosmetics. Cade oil is used and believed to be a traditional remedy for psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. It is also very popular as an antiseptic and disinfectant.

Despite its many benefits, cade oil can also be harmful to health and can cause poisoning by ingesting it. The result will have an impact on respiratory, neurological, and cardiovascular disorders because cade oil contains hydrocarbons and phenols, which are toxic substances.


Characteristics of Prickly Juniper Leaf

Juniperus oxycedrus Leaf
Source :

The leaves are needle-like, green, 5-20 mm long and 1-2 mm wide, with white double stomatal bands (cleaved by green midribs) on the inner surface.


Characteristics of Prickly Juniper Fruit

Juniperus oxycedrus Fruit
Source : Cosenza

The berries are small, round berries, 7-12 mm in diameter, and have three or six scales joined in 1-2 circles, three scales to one seed scale. The fruit matures in 18 months and is orange to red and is sometimes coated with pink wax.


Characteristics of Prickly Juniper Tree

Juniperus oxycedrus Tree
Source : José Sánchez

Prickly juniper grows in a very wide variety of forms, from 2-3 meter tall shrubs to small upright trees 10-15 meters high (depending on where it grows).

The tree is closely related to Azores juniper (Juniperus brevifolia), Canary Islands juniper (Juniperus cedrus), and Formosan juniper (Juniperus formosana).


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