Gardening Magazine

Juniperus Phoenicea

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Juniperus phoenicea (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Juniperus phoenicea (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Early Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 12m

Eventual Spread: 5m

Hardiness: 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11

Family: Cupressaceae

Juniperus phoenicea is a long lived, evergreen large shrub or small  tree with a variable habit and an irregular crown. Its dark green leaves appear in two forms, juvenile and adult. Its juvenile leaves are sharp, needle like and up to 10cm long. Its adult leaves are scale like and up to 2mm long. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 1m. Its (usually) monoecious flowers are pollen cones are light brown, up to 3mm long, wind pollinated and are not self fertile. Its orange/ brown fruit are berry like seed cones and are up to 14mm across.

Juniperus phoenicea Leaf (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Juniperus phoenicea Leaf (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Juniperus phoenicea, commonly known as Phoenicean Juniper, is native to the Mediterranean region and western Saudi Arabia. In its native habitat it grows on hills and dunes in arid regions.

The etymological root of the binomial name Juniperus is derived from the old Latin name for the Juniper tree. Phoenicea derived from the Greek and is named after an ancient Semitic civilization centred (mainly) on the south Mediterranean.

Although little used by th landscape architect  Juniperus phoenicea may be useful as an evergreen tree in hot dry climates. There are numerous varieties of this tree with various habits to choose from. Once established this tree is drought tolerant.

Juniperus phoenicea Fruit (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Juniperus phoenicea Fruit (30/01/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Juniperus phoenicea seed cones are attractive food for birds and mammals. Its structure provides shelter for birds.

Juniperus phoenicea prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil, although it prefers neutral to alkali soils. It will tolerate dry soils.

Juniperus phoenicea requires little maintenance.

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