Sonntag, 8. April 2012

Plant of the Day (April 8th, 2012) - Juniperus squamata Buch. -Ham. ("Meyeri")

Happy Easter everybody

Today, I want to show you a new conifer. It's Juniperus squamata Buch.-Ham. from the Cupressaceae family. In English, this species is known as “Flaky Juniper” or “Himalayan Juniper” while a common German name is “Schuppiger Wacholder” (Scaly Juniper). The Chinese name of this plant is “gao shan bai (高山柏), which means “high mountain cypress”. My pictures show a cultivar named “Meyeri”

J. squamata - habitus

It's a large scrub or small tree, which can reach heights between 8 and 12 metres (26.3 to 39.4 feet). The brown bark is very scaly, what is also the reason for its trivial name. The branches (Langtriebe) are ascending or growing horizontally, while the branchlets (Kurztriebe) are short and curved.
The needle-like leaves of J. squamata are arranged in whorls with 3 leaves per whorl. They are also a little bit bent. In the most cases, the leaves are protruding, but sometimes also lie flat on the branchlets.
All leaves have a blue-green color .

J. squamata - berries, bark and leaves

The ripe cones of J. squamata are typical juniper “berries”, with a fleshy cone scale, which is the result of a fusion between seed-scale and the bract-scale. These berries have a black to bluish color. The most junipers are dioecious, so we have male and female plants. However, in some case there are also monoecious individuals.

J. squamata - habitus

J. squamata is native to Asia with a focus in the Himalayas (with its riparians China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan)1). It's a alpine plant, which grows in heights between 1600 to 4500 metres. Typical habitats are mountainous forests, roadsides or thickets. As evergreen shrub, J. squamata is also a popular ornamental plant and cultivars (most of them “Meyeri”) are often planted in gardens or on cemeteries.

1): In some literature, you will read that J. squamata is also native to Taiwan, but this isn't actual any more. In past, Juniperius morrisonicola Hayata (a Taiwanese species) was treated as sort of J. squamata but current DNA-researches have proven, that J. morrisonicola is a own species.

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