Characteristics of Savin Juniper Tree (Juniperus sabina) in the Wild

Juniperus sabina
Savin juniper is a conifer tree species native to the mountains of central and southern Europe and western and central Asia, at an altitude of 1,000-3,300 m asl.

The Savin juniper tree was first published in 1753 by Carolus Linnaeus in Species Plantarum.

This tree grows in the form of a shrub and is a popular ornamental tree in gardens and parks, with many cultivars to choose from.

Savin juniper was also used in abortifacient medicines in America in the 19th century. In ancient times and the Middle Ages, the Savin juniper tree was used as a medicinal tree for jaundice and headaches.

All parts of this tree are poisonous because they contain poisonous compounds. Compared to the oil from Common Juniper (Juniperus communis), Savin juniper oil contains more esters and has a higher acetyl content.

WARNING: In humans, the poison attacks the mucous membrane of the stomach, causing blood flow to the kidneys and resulting in hematuria. This poison also attacks other internal organs. In women, this oil can trigger menorrhagia and cause miscarriage. Therefore, in the past, Savin juniper berries were used for abortion.


Characteristics of Savin Juniper Leaf

Juniperus sabina Leaf
Source :

Young leaves are like needles 5-10 mm long, and mature leaves 1-2 mm long. Young leaves are found on very young trees, while mature trees sometimes only show a few young leaves on the shoots.


Characteristics of Savin Juniper Fruit

Juniperus sabina Fruit
Source :

The fruit is like berries, the female fruit is about 5-9 mm long and the male 2-4 mm long, blue-black, and contains 1-3 seeds. The fruit ripens in about 18 months.


Characteristics of Savin Juniper Tree

Juniperus sabina Tree
Source :

Savin juniper grows as a very variable shrub, generally 1-4 meters tall. Trees are mostly dioecious with separate male and female trees, but a few individual trees produce both sexes.

The Savin juniper tree needs full sun all day long and it occupies areas with shallow, rocky soil. The tree is often found growing in rock crevices in the Alps.


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