Information on Juniper

Common Name: Juniper
Scientific Name: Juniperus communis
Irish Name: Aiteal
Family Group: Cupressaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Juniper is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

Usually found as a prostrate shrub, Juniper occasionally has erect branches. It is a native evergreen shrub and grows on limestone and in limestone scrub. It bears female and male flowers on separate shrubs, the tiny female flowers being yellowish-green clusters of scales and the male flowers being small, yellow and releasing pollen. The flowers are in groups of three, in leaf axils and on stiff, low-growing stems. They appear in May and June. The distictive leaves are bluish-green, keeled below with single band above, sharply-pointed, narrow, stiff and in groups of three; branches are quite prickly. Mainly confined to the N West and West of Ireland, this shrub belongs to the Cupressaceae or Juniper family. 

I first saw Juniper in the Burren, Co Clare in 1980 and photographed it at the same place in 2013.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Juniper produces berries which are green in the first year, turning blue-black when ripe. These berries are best known for giving a flavour to gin – short for the Dutch word ‘genever’ or Juniper. They are also used in a rich wine sauce which frequently accompanies game dishes such as venison.