Juniper-Cedar

Kurt Elieson

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First Class requirement #6: Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your community.

Junipers are one of the two groups of evergreen trees that grow around Dallas-Fort Worth. While pine tree leaves are straight needles, juniper leaves are branchy and scaly. Juniper bark peels off in strips. The strips can be shredded by rubbing to make a good tinder for starting fires. Junipers also have little bluish berries.

The most common juniper to grow in the wild around Dallas-Fort Worth is the Eastern Red Cedar. But the American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature refuses to call it by any name that includes the word cedar because they say it is not really a cedar, but is a juniper. Many people call it juniper-cedar to account both for what it is and what it is named.

Juniper-cedars are often the first tree to begin growing in cleared fields north and east of Dallas. They are very invasive and can live for two hundred years. Junipers were introduced into Oklahoma in the 1930's during the dustbowl years of the Great Depression to help hold down the soil. Now, if you drive north on I-35 more than an hour into Oklahoma, you will see lots of country with little else besides grass and juniper-cedars.

The first ten pictures are of juniper-cedars; the last two pictures show other kinds of junipers planted as landscaping.

Click on the pictures to see them up close.

Page last updated 2011.11.07