Common Juniper facts for kids

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(Redirected from Juniperus communis)
Juniperus communis
Juniperus communis subsp. communis
in the Netherlands
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Species: J. communis
Binomial name
Juniperus communis
L.

Juniperus communis, the Common Juniper, is a species in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has the largest range of any woody plant. It is all over the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere. It can be found in North America, Europe and Asia.

Description

JuniperusCommunisAlpina
Juniperus communis subsp. alpina, Vitosha, Bulgaria.

Juniperus communis is a shrub or small coniferous evergreen tree. It is a low spreading shrub. Sometimes it can reach 10 m tall.

The seed cones are berry-like. They are green when ripening. In 18 months they change to purple-black with a blue waxy coating.

Uses

Juniperus communis cones
Foliage and berries

Crafts

It is too small to be used for lumber. In Scandinavia, however, juniper wood is used for making containers. These containers store small amounts of dairy products such as butter and cheese. In Estonia juniper wood is valued for its long lasting and pleasant aroma. Various decorative items (often eating utensils) are common in most Estonian handicraft shops and households.

Culinary

Its astringent blue-black seeds, commonly known as "Juniper berries", are too bitter to eat raw. They are usually sold dried and used to flavour meats, sauces, and stuffings. They are generally crushed before use to release their flavour. The berries are used to flavour certain beers and gin. The Slovak national alcoholic beverage Borovička is also flavoured with juniper berry extract.

Traditional medicine

Juniper berries have long been used as medicine by many cultures. Juniper berries act as a strong urinary tract disinfectant if eaten. They were used by Native Americans as an herbal remedy for diabetes. Western American tribes combined the berries of Juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in a herbal tea. Native Americans also used juniper berries as a female contraceptive.

Gallery

Images for kids


Common Juniper Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.