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Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

Family: Cupressaceae or Cypress

Leaves: Awl-shaped or scale-like; pressed close to the twig; not arranged in overlapping pairs; variable in color; retains blue-green color in winter; evergreen.

Twigs/buds: Twigs slender, older twigs red-brown and nearly glabrous; bark peeling off; finest twigs covered by foliage. Buds very small; indistinct; not useful for identification purposes.

Flowers/fruit: Dioecious. Berry-like fruit takes two years to mature; nearly round; 1/4" to 1/3" in diameter; bright blue; often covered with a white coating; usually contains 2 seeds.

Bark: Brown to gray; fibrous; peels in narrow strips.

Wood: Soft; lightweight; light red heartwood with narrow white sapwood.

General: Occurs naturally from the western Great Plains throughout the Rocky Mountains and southwestern Canada, including Utah. Very drought resistant. Shade intolerant.

Landscape Use: Often used in windbreaks due to its toughness and retention of lower branches; also good for visual screens and foundation plantings. Many cultivars in the landscape trade with a wide variety of foliage colors; needs (and wants) very little water once established. Zones 3-7.