Juniperus occidentalis

Western juniper

High desert near Redmond/Bend in Central Oregon

Smelly! Walking among these trees there is a very distinct scent, not entirely unlike cat urine.
Fleshy blueish cones resemble berries. They’re coated with a white dust.
Very lovely gnarled stems, the bark seems to twist around the trunks.
They grow on dry, rocky ground, even on steep slopes.

Important for wildlife- provides food, shelter and nesting material. The leaves are very interesting- compressed scales form round little branches with glands dotting the surface (producing that nice smell.)
Mature trees can reach 20-40 feet.
Though it is a rarely used herb today, Native Americans had many medicinal uses for Western juniper, including relief from headaches, menstrual cramps, toothaches, as a remedy for burns, flu, skin and kidney problems, and as a birthing aid.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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