This juniper, common in eastern Oregon, can grow
to a height of over 65 feet (20 meters). It's easy to identify because
it's the only tree-size juniper you're likely to find in most of it's
leaves are scaled, appearing in alternating groups of 3 on the twig.
Each scale has a resin dot, which distinguishes it from Rocky Mountain juniper. Some leaves are
awl shaped with prickly
Cones: The blue
berry-like cones are soft and juicy with a white waxy coating. The size
is about 3/8 inch. They are a food source for several bird species. The
birds, in turn, disperse the seeds.
Bark: The young bark
is thin, smooth, and brown. On larger trees, it becomes gray and flaky and then
fibrus and redish brown.
it grows: Western juniper grows throughout most of eastern
Oregon and a few locations in central and southeastern Washington. It
also grows in the high
elevations of the Sierras in California.
much maligned by cattle ranchers for its propensity to crowd out
grasses, western juniper is loved by wood workers for its unique
natural growth patterns and its beautiful grain and colors.
scientific name, occidentalis,
means '"western." Other common names: Sierra juniper, yellow juniper.
Subspecies: The western juniper growing in the Sierras is sometimes considered a
separate subspecies from those in Oregon and Washington, and called