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Aligator Juniper

Juniperus deppeana

Juniperus deppeana photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Young, Gila Co., Arizona. Aug. 2005.

Juniperus osteosperma cones photo © by Michael Plagens

Berries are actually fleshy cones and are eaten by birds. Photographed near Young, Gila Co., Arizona. Aug. 2005.

TREE: A medium sized tree with dark brown to nearly black bark formed into distintive rectangular plates. A champion located in Yavapai Co., Arizona is 19 meters tall and has a girth in excess of 7 meters.

LEAVES: Leaves are small overlapping scales that are minutely serrate.

RANGE: Junipers thrive mostly in cooler habitats well north or higher in elevation than the Sonoran Desert. Along the northeastern and eastern boundary of the Sonoran Desert there are interspersed a very few Aligator Junipers.

CONES: Berry-like cones are fibrous and orange-brown beneath a glaucus, waxy coating and containing one or two seeds; require two years to mature.

UNARMED. The scale-like leaves can feel a bit prickly though.

Cupressaceae -- Juniper Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008