Juniperus rigida subsp. conferta / shore Juniper

Juniperus rigida subsp. conferta, first described in 1974 by (Parlatore) Siro Kitamura (1906 - 2002) is commonly known as shore juniper and is most commonly seen listed as Juniperus conferta Parlatore.

Description. Shore juniper is an evergreen coniferous groundcover with densely branched, creeping stems, forming mats.

  • Branchlets are reddish brown in color, densely clothed with more or less appressed leaves.
  • Leaves are arranged in bundles of 3, and are verticillate, stiff, pointed, needle-like, more or less curved, with a jointed base, measuring 0.4 to 0.65 inch (10 - 17 mm) long, 0.04 to 0.08 inch (1 - 2 mm) wide. Needle margines are conspicuously concave, and nearly triangular in cross section. Upper surfaces have one deep groove and one narrow white stomatal band along middle. Needle color is dull green and ridged on lower surface.
  • Flowers appear solitary in the axils of the previous year's shoots.
  • Pollen cones globose-ovoid shaped, yellow-green in color, and measure circa 0.12 inch (3 mm) long and 0.1 inch (2.5) mm across. Pollen cones consist of circa. 3-tiered verticillate scales, which are ovate, acute, and green in color.
  • Seed cones develop on short stalks that are densely clothed with small scale leaves. They are globose, colored green when young, ripening to purple-black, individually measuring 0.4 to 0.48 inch (10 - 12 mm) in diameter, and contain 3 seeds within.
  • Seeds have an ellipsoid shape, are 3-ridged and subacute at one end. Seeds measure 0.2 to 0.28 inch (5 - 7 mm) long. Pollination takes place in July, seeds mature between October and December of the next year.

Distribution. This subspecies is native to Japan and Russia. In Japan it is found in western Hokkaido and Honshu (Pacific Ocean side from Iwate Prefecture to Wakayama Prefecture, excluding the Izu Peninsula and Izu Islands; Japan Sea side from Aomori Prefecture to Shimane Prefecture); on sandy soils near the sea. It is rare in Russia, where found on sandy seashores of southern Sakhalin Island and perhaps in the Kuril Islands.

Descriptions of the cultivars of Shore Juniper can be found on this page:

Juniperus rigida subsp. conferta

Juniperus rigida subsp. conferta — at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo by Xemenendura, via Wikipedia