Juniper - Juniperus communis


A slow-growing coniferous tree or shrub, characterized by its dark fleshy fruits and needles in whorls of three.  Only the juvenile leaves are erect or sharp-pointed needles; the adult foliage has appressed scale-like leaves.  

Similar Species

Other species in Cupressaceae have appressed scale-like leaves, and some Cupressus cultivars may have similar juvenile foliage.  Many cultivars and other Juniper species planted in parks and gardens can make identification difficult.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Fleshy berry-like fruits (not woody cones); juvenile leaves are erect needles, usually in whorls of three. 

Recording advice

Photographs of plant with juvenile foliage and berries.


Found occurring naturally on heaths, chalk downland frequently in scrub. It is also sometimes planted in country parks and gardens.

When to see it

In flower during May. 

Life History

Coniferous perennial.  Male and female flowers are born on separate plants. The fruit is a small berry like cone that takes two or three years to ripen.

UK Status

Occasional. It occurs naturally in scattered locations across Britain. 

VC55 Status

Not likely to occur naturally in Leicestershire and Rutland where it is usually noted as a result of planting. It was not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Species group:
Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
05/04/2018 (Nicholls, David)
Last record:
15/07/2018 (Roenisch, Saharima)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

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