California Juniper

Common Names:
California Juniper
Scientific name:
Juniperus californica
Subspecies | Variants:
Juniperus osteosperma
Elevation range:
<6,000 ft.
Height | Length:
3-18 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
Notes:
TOXIC
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Mojave

California Juniper 1

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica can grow to be quite large, although this one is still small. Besides, Pinyon Pines, these shrubs occur in Joshua Tree woodland communities as well. Pipes Canyon | April 2007    

California Juniper 7

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica fruit (berries) are consumed by many birds and mammals. Pipes Canyon | May 2010

California Juniper 6

California Juniper in the desert

A Scott's Oriole perches on the top branch of Juniperus californica. Pipes Canyon | March 2015    

California Juniper 2

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica are not flowering plants. They are gymnosperms in the Cupressaceae (Cypress) family of cone-bearing plants along with more familiar pines. Pipes Canyon | April 2015  

California Juniper 3

California Juniper in the desert

Native Americans found many uses for Juniperus californica, traveling on paths such as this one.  Pipes Canyon | December 2016    

California Juniper 4

California Juniper in the desert

Low hanging branches or fallen fruit of Juniperus californica is susceptible to rabbits and coyotes. These berries are frequently visible in coyote scat whereever the shrubs occur.  Pipes Canyon, CA | February 2005    

California Juniper 5

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica can be monoecious or dioecious, meaning they can have male and female cones on one individual or on separate individuals. Pipes Canyon | March 2011    

California Juniper 8

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica huddled among boulders high in the Mojave Desert. Pipes Canyon, CA | May 2012    

California Juniper 9

California Juniper in the desert

Juniperus californica grows from 2,500 - 5,000 ft in many habitats in California. It is often a co-dominant species, especially with Singleleaf Pinyon Pine. Pipes Canyon | November 2012