Shrubs or small trees dioecious, to 4 m (if trees, to 10 m), multistemmed, decumbent or rarely upright; crown generally depressed. Bark brown, fibrous, exfoliating in thin strips, that of small branchlets (5--10 mm diam.) smooth, that of larger branchlets exfoliating in strips and plates. Branches spreading or ascending; branchlets erect, terete. Leaves green but sometimes appearing silver when glaucous, spreading, abaxial glands very elongate; adaxial surface with glaucous stomatal band; apex acute to obtuse, mucronate. Seed cones maturing in 2 years, of 2 distinct sizes, with straight peduncles, globose to ovoid, 6--13 mm, bluish black, glaucous, resinous to obscurely woody, with 2--3 seeds. Seeds 4--5 mm. 2 n = 22.
"Lvs in whorls of 3, jointed at the base, crowded, linear, loose or spreading, pungent, 6–18 mm, with a median white stripe above; cones axillary, bluish or black, 6–13 mm thick, mostly 3-seeded. Circumboreal, s. in Amer. to Pa., Wis., Minn., the Rocky Mt. states, and irregularly to S.C. and s. Ind. Nearly all of our plants belong to the var. depressa Pursh, the common Amer. phase of the sp.; decumbent but not prostrate, forming flat-topped circular patches mostly 0.5–2 m tall and several m wide; lvs spreading or ascending, mostly straight, (6)10–18 mm, the white stripe narrower than each margin; mostly in dry, rocky, or otherwise poor soil; occasional more arborescentspecimens, with a ± definite central axis, have been mistaken for the arborescent Eurasian var. communis, which has the white stripe on the lvs at least as broad as each margin. The high-northern, circumboreal var. montana Aiton reaches only the ne. margin of our range, as on the coast of N.S. and the coast and mts. of n. Me.; it is prostrate or nearly so and trailing, with oblong, abruptly short-pointed, incurved and imbricate lvs 6–10 mm, these with a broad white stripe, evidently wider than each margin (var. alpina; var. saxatilis, misapplied; J. sibirica; J. nana)."
Dioecious, shrubby decumbent plant. Branches dense. Leaves in whorls of threes, 8‑12 x 2‑4 mm, subulate, pungent, jointed at base, ± curved to suberect. Male cones axillary, c. 8 mm long; Female cones solitary, 20 mm long, scales 3. Fruit subglobose, bluish‑black, 8‑12 mm broad. Seeds 2‑3, ovoid.
|Common juniper, genévrier commun|