Juniperus thurifera / Spanish juniper

Juniperus thurifera (Spanish juniper) is a species of juniper native to the mountains of the western Mediterranean region, from southern France (including Corsica) across eastern and central Spain to Morocco and locally in northern Algeria.


It large shrub or tree reaching 6-20 m tall, with a trunk up to 2 m diameter and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The foliage is strongly aromatic, with a spicy-resinous scent. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8-10 mm long on seedlings and irregularly on adult plants, and adult scale-leaves 0.6-3 mm long on older plants; they are arranged in decussate opposite pairs. It is dioecious with separate male and female plants. The cones are berry-like, 7-12 mm in diameter, Blue-black with a whitish waxy bloom, and contain 1-4 seeds; they are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 3-4 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring.

There are two varieties, regarded as distinct by some authors, but not by others:

  • Juniperus thurifera var. thurifera. Spain, France. Mature cones 8-12 mm, with 2-4 seeds.
  • Juniperus thurifera var. africana Maire. Morocco, Algeria. Mature cones 7-8 mm, with 1-2 seeds.
Overall, the species is not considered threatened with healthy population in Spain; however, the African population is threatened by severe overgrazing, mainly by goats, and is listed as Endangered.

In the Sierra de Solorio there is the largest Spanish Juniper forest in Europe.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia