The common juniper is the most widely distributed tree species in the world. This slow-growing, long-lived coniferous evergreen tree usually grows low and shrub-like, but it can also grow up to ten metres tall. The needles of the common juniper are green; its bark is grey and thin, and the berry-like cones are blue-black when ripe. It flowers from May to June. The common juniper is also a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks.
The common juniper demands a bright habitat, but otherwise is not particular about its environment. The species occurs in open heath forests, rock outcrops, pasturelands and rich fens. It has a circumpolar distribution which covers almost the whole Northern Hemisphere.
The common juniper is useful in many ways. Its wood is suitable for making utensils; and due to its pleasant scent, for smoking fish and meat. Its berries are used to season meat dishes and alcoholic drinks. At one time the berries were used as medicinal herbs to treat renal and bladder trouble, among others. They are slightly poisonous.
The common juniper is a very common species and thus requires no conservation measures to secure its occurrence.
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