Juniperus communis

Juniper

  • En (S)
  • Juniper (GB)
  • Wacholder (D)
  • Le gen√©vrier (F)
  • Enebro (E)

Area of distribution

  • Juniper can be found widely in the Northern hemisphere.
  • It grows naturally in whole Europe and in wide area in Asia.
  • Out of the many species of juniper only one grows in Finland, but it is spread through the whole country.

Habitat

  • Juniper is not very demanding regarding the place of habitat, but it needs plenty of light.
  • The best habitats for juniper are open hillsides with plenty of light. In such places juniper grows in a-column-like shape.
  • Juniper grows both on barren rocks and in flourishing groves
  • The best soil for juniper is rich with nutrients and calciferous.
  • Juniper is very resistant to freezing temperatures and wind.

Growth characteristics

  • Juniper grows extremely slowly and it can grow even 1000 years old.
  • It often grows bush-like, but in can also become a tree of 10 metres high. Juniper has adapted to various kinds of growth habits.
  • In Finland it is forbidden by the regulation to take away tree-like and column-like junipers from the woods.
  • Juniper fields are protected by the nature conservation legislation in Finland.
  • Loggers usually leave Juniper standing unless it causes significant disadvantage.
  • Good quality juniper for processing is trunk-like and the breast height diameter is at least 10 centimetres. The trunk may not have branches up to one metre. From that on there can be branches but the trunk may not have any arms.

Propertiest of timber

  • The fragrant timber of juniper is soft, resilient, dense and very long lasting.
  • Sapwood is yellowy and reddish, heartwood is yellowy and brown; they are not easily separable from each other.
  • Timber is very rot-resistant.
  • Timber dries slowly and shrinks, but it does not twist or crack.
  • Easy to process but difficult to split.
  • In Finland, cutting juniper is allowed for refining and selling the timber although it is forbidden to cut tree-like and column-like junipers for commercial purposes (Nature Conversation Decree 450/1992).
  • Air dried timber weighs 550 kg/m3.

Usage

  • Traditionally juniper is used in various containers, centrepieces and utility articles.
  • Juniper berries have been used as medicine. The smoke of juniper and the berries are also used as seasoning.