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New Mexico Juniper Juniperus monosperma

Description

One-seed Juniper is a needled evergreen large shrub or tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico where it is often found in dry, rocky, or sandy soils. It typically grows to 20 feet, but has been known to reach a height of 40 feet, although it may take more than 20 years to reach that height. The fragrant foliage is dark green, fine to the touch, and grows densely on the tree. Unlike most conifers, it does have orange flowers, but they are inconspicuous and, on female plants, quickly give way to blue-black fruits. The genus name identifies it as a juniper. The species name means single seed.

One-seed Juniper grows best in full sun and sandy, loamy, or clay soils that are well-drained. It will tolerate very alkaline soils, dry or moist soil, and drought. The fruit of the female plants has a thin flesh, matures in a single season, with one or occasionally two seeds. Hence the species name.

The plant is relatively fast growing for a Juniper, and is long-lived in its native habitat, preferring dry areas with hot summers. It can have a gnarled, multi-trunked appearance with large branches rising from below ground level.

This plant is useful for wood for fence posts and fuel. At one time, native Americans made mats and cloth from the fibrous bark. Birds and mammals consume the juicy "berries", and goats browse the foliage.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems. See the "Pests of Conifers" fact sheet to the left.

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common juniper diseases and insect pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#fine texture#multistemmed#large shrub#needled evergreen#fragrant needles#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#fine texture#multistemmed#large shrub#needled evergreen#fragrant needles#exfoliating bark#dry soils tolerant#tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Juniperus
    Species:
    monosperma
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SW North America, along the Rockies from Wyoming to Mexico
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruit are consumed by birds.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Bluish-black to copper-colored seed cones occur on the female plants.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Orange
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Inconspicuous orange flowers bloom in early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Fragrant foliage is scale-like on mature twigs; needle-like on juvenile shoots and seedlings. Leaves are dense on the twig in opposite pairs, foliage is yellowish-green to gray-green.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Bark is thin, scaly and ashy. Gray-brown bark exfoliates in strips, exposing bright orange-brown bark beneath.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Small Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil