Juniperus procera

Juniperus procera

Juniperus procera, commonly known in English as African Juniper or East African Juniper, is a coniferous tree native to the mountains of eastern Africa from eastern Sudan south to Zimbabwe, and the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a characteristic tree of the Afromontane flora.

It medium-sized tree reaching 20-25 m (rarely 40 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5-2 m diameter and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8-15 mm long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.5-3 mm long on older plants, arranged in decussate pairs or whorls of three. It is largely dioecious with separate male and female plants, but some individual plants produce both sexes. The cones are berry-like, 4-8 mm in diameter, blue-black with a whitish waxy bloom, and contain 2-5 seeds; they are mature in 12-18 months. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring.

It is the only juniper to occur south of the equator, and is thought to be a relatively recent colonist of Africa; the species shows very little of the variability associated with a long period of evolution (Farjon 2005). It is closely related to Juniperus excelsa from southwestern Asia, probably deriving from a common ancestor with that species in southwestern Asia.

References and external links

  • Gymnosperm Database: Juniperus procera
  • Adams, R. P. (2004). Junipers of the World: The genus Juniperus. Victoria: Trafford. ISBN 1-4120-4250-X
  • Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4.

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