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Native Irish Juniper tree ... Juniperus communis ... Aiteal


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Native Irish Juniper tree ... Juniperus communis ... Aiteal Reply with quote

The Native Irish Juniper ... Juniperus communis ... Aiteal

Jennifer Juniper lives upon the hill
Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still
Is she sleeping, I don't think so
Is she breathing, yes, very low
Whatcha doin', Jennifer my love

Lyrics taken from Jennifer Juniper by Donovan.



Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Species: J. communis

This article covers another native Irish evergreen conifer for you; this one is Juniperus communis or common juniper. A rarity in Ireland, Juniperus communis may be found on heaths and mountainsides with either acid or alkaline soils, but most examples are to be found on well-drained rocky outcrops and cliff areas based on limestone soils.

A surprisingly slow growing conifer.
The tree, columnar or spreading in shape, is often classed as a large shrub due to its dense growth, which rarely exceeds 7 metres by 4 metres at a comfortably slow rate. Personally, I feel a slow growing conifer such as the juniper is welcome in this modern gardening world where Leylandii trees dominate the conifer scene, their rapid and light suppressing growth causing offence to neighbours throughout the country. At a conservative estimate, a well-grown Juniperus communis will take 20 years to grow 2.5 metres tall. For the ultimate in low growing Irish conifers, a few ground-hugging versions of the shrub juniper can to be spotted sprawled throughout our mountain areas.



Scent of a Juniper.
Here is how to recognise our native juniper...
Its foliage is aggressive and needle-like, comprising pointed leaves, which are very small, usually 1 mm wide. These grey-green leaves varying in length from 1 to 2cm, release quite a strong aromatic scent if clipped or crushed. There are separate male and female versions of the tree, this is visible every May/June when either the small yellow male flowers or greenish female flowers make their appearance. The female flowers, once pollinated, produce equally small (1cm wide) green scaly fruits, ripening to a bluish black shade over the course of 2 years. These berries are used in brewing for the flavouring of gin and in cooking as a spice for beef, lamb or pork dishes.

An organic insect repellent.
The stems and branches which provide support for the trees foliage and berries are covered in rich, brownish red bark, which can be seen to shred, curl and peel away in strips from the mature tree. Under the bark, you will find the pinkish white water-filled sapwood similarly aromatic to the pungent foliage. The interior brown heartwood is quite soft and has few if any wood working uses, apart from veneering; instead, it was used for burning because of its scent. The ancient Celts burned the wood of the Juniper at their autumn (Samhain) festival for purification, as an aid to allow contact with the dead. A more up to date use for the wood or to be more precise the wood shavings are as an organic insect repellent. Throw your nasty mothballs away and replace them with a small net bag of juniper parings, as their scent has been found to keep the munching moths away from your clothes drawers or wardrobes.

To plant your own juniper, visit your garden centre and pick up Juniperus communis 'Hibernica'. This variety has a tidy columnar habit, growing to 4 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.

Research more in your own time......
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Also try here...... Best Tree Identification Books


Chart shows approximate distribution of the native tree within Ireland, each dot is a 10km square in which the species grows.

Back to native Irish trees.

Yew Images courtesy
Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, , United States
Gil Wojciech, Polish Forest Research Institute, Poland
Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, United States
www.forestryimages.org

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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maigheomac
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Juniperus Communis Hibernica Reply with quote

I am trying to plant as many native species as I can in my garden in county Meath

One of those that I'd like to get hold of is the native irish Juniper. I have never seen it in any garden centres.....once I thought I had it but it turned out to be Juniperus Communis Sentinel.
Would you have any ideas where I could get this plant?
I have even asked 'Irish Seed Savers' and they didn't have it.

..Don't really have the time to go searching for it in somewhere like Glenveagh National Park.

Once I get one I can make many more as I believe it is easily grown from cuttings!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had a root around for you myself maigheomac and I am finding it hard to come up with anything other than cultivars in Ireland at present.
I did a search in the UK and did have some luck however.
Click on this link for a ist and look out for JUNIPER TREE (Juniperus communis) Cell Pot grown....... Juniperus communis seller results.
you will have to query as to postage, but seeing as they are Cell Pot grown that should not be much.
They should be a good size to get started in your garden.

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