Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Utah Juniper

An attractive example of the Utah Juniper from Paradox Valley, CO.

The Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) is a surprisingly attractive, coniferous shrub, whose trunk grows into twisted forms of art. One of the 50+ species of Juniper in North America, it is one of the taller varieties, growing up 30 feet tall with a rounded canopy.

The distributed pattern of the Utah Juniper seen from the Dolores River Canyon Trail.

Its roots system is extensive, which allows it to compete for moisture in the arid plateau lands where it grows. This may also be the reason these shrubs spread themselves out in what looks like uniform patterns. Similar to the Bristecone Pine, the wood is very decay resistant and the trunks will lay about dotting the landscape like Mother Nature's sculpture garden (see my Rabbit's Ear post for some nice examples). This species can be found between 4,000 ft and 7,500 ft.

A close up of the needles and berries

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