Juniper (prickly)

Juniper (prickly)

Botanical and Common Names

  • Family Cupressaceae
  • Juniperus oxycedrus (vernacularly called: Cade, cade juniper, prickly juniper, prickly cedar, or sharp cedar)
  • Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. badia (H. Gay) Bebeaux 1894
  • Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa (Sibth. et Sm.) Ball 1878
  • Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus
  • Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. transtagana Franco 1963


Prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) is a small coniferous tree or shrub native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. It is recognizable by its needle-like leaves and red bark, which peels off in stripes. The tree’s wood is durable and hard and valued for making furniture and other woodwork. Oils are extracted from its leaves and branches and used for different medicinal therapies and as a fragrance component in soaps and perfumes. Cultivars of the species are often planted for their ornamental value in parks and gardens.The prickly juniper prefers a warm, Mediterranean climate and is often found in dry and rocky or sandy soils. The tree is also able to tolerate a colder climate and grows in elevations from sea level up to 2200 m.


Juniperus oxycedrus, as described in in 1753 by Carolus Linnæus (1707–1778), in Species Plantarum, 2nd edition, is commonly called Prickly juniper, Prickly cedar, Cade juniper and Cade (from the French genévrier cade), or Sharp cedar; as well as Crvena kleka in the Serbian language; zeder wacholder in German; genévrier cade, or cedre piquant in French; or ginepro pungente in Italian. The extremely prickly foliage is the origin of the species name, Latin for “sharp cedar.” This species may have been the original cedar or cedrus of the ancient Greeks.


Source: European Forest Genetic Resources Programme
Source: American Conifery Society

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