Summary: 2 &Backyards Beyond
FeaturedPlant Juniper trees (often mistakenly called "cedars")
are members of the cypress family (Cupressaceae).
Juniper berries are actually modified cones which
technically makes juniper a conifer tree (like pine
and spruce trees). Several species of juniper trees
grow in the western U.S., including: Juniperus
monosperma (one-seeded juniper), J. osteosperma
(Utah juniper), J. depeana (alligator juniper), J.
communis (common juniper), and J. scopulorum
(Rocky Mountain juniper). Juniper trees commonly
grow in association with pinyon pine (Pinus edulis
and P. monophyletic) at elevations as low as 3000
feet and as high as 10,000 feet. When you hear land
managers talk about the "P-J" zone, they are likely
referring to a pinyon-juniper plant community.
Juniper woodlands currently occupy 77,000-
116,000 square miles throughout the western
U.S. and have increased about fivefold in the last
150 years. Reasons given for juniper expansion