Characteristics of Temple Juniper Tree (Juniperus rigida) in the Wild

Juniperus rigida
Temple juniper (Juniperus rigida) is a species of conifer tree native to northern China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, and southeastern Russia. This tree grows at an altitude of 100-2200 m asl.

Known, this species is naturalized in the United States (California and Alabama). It is closely related to the Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) and Shore Juniper (Juniperus conferta), which are sometimes treated as varieties or subspecies of Juniperus rigida.

This tree was first described as Juniperus rigida in 1846 by Philipp Franz von Siebold and Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini.

Today Temple juniper is widely cultivated and grown as an ornamental tree and bonsai throughout the world.

This species is divided into two subspecies, namely Juniperus rigida subsp. conferta and Juniperus rigida subsp. rigidity.

 

Characteristics of Temple Juniper Leaf

Juniperus rigida Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/geofuruko

The leaves are needle-like, green, in three whorls, bright green to yellowish, 10-23 mm long, and 1-1.3 mm wide, with a single white stomata band on the inner surface.

 

Characteristics of Temple Juniper Fruit

Juniperus rigida Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/harumkoh

Cones are berry-like, globose, 5-9 mm in diameter, initially green to dark purple or brownish when ripe in 18 months. Has three (rarely six) scales fused in a circle of three, each with one seed.

 

Characteristics of Temple Juniper Tree

Juniperus rigida Tree
Source: inaturalist.org/yanghooncho

Temple juniper grows as a shrub or small tree to a height of 6-10 meters and a trunk diameter of up to 50 cm. The bark of young trees is thin and scaly brown. With age, it turns gray and becomes wrinkled. The crown of the tree is pyramidal or cylindrical. Thin-hanging branches have a triangular cross-section and hairless reddish-brown bark.

 

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