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Edible uses


Fruit - raw or cooked[1][2][3]. Sweet and fleshy, but strongly flavoured[4][5]. Resinous[6]. Often used as a flavouring, imparting a sage-like taste, for which purpose it is usually dried and ground into a powder[4][3]. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a meal for making mush and cakes[3].The fruits are about 5 - 8mm in diameter[7][6].

The roasted fruit is a coffee substitute[3].

A tea is made from the fruits and young shoots[3].

Unknown part


Material uses

A fragrant wax on the fruits can be obtained by boiling the fruit and skimming off the wax as it floats to the surface. It is used to make aromatic candles but is only present in small quantities[4].

The boughs are used as an incense to fumigate houses and to drive off smells. The wood can be burnt or just hung in the room, or it can be boiled up in water and the water used to wash the walls, floor etc[8]. The bark is employed as a tinder and is also made into a slow match[9]. The dried seeds have been used as beads or as the 'rattle' in rattles[8][9]. The fruits and the leaves are used as an insect repellent[10]. A strong infusion of the cones is used to kill ticks[8]. Plants can be grown as a ground cover, the cultivar 'Repens' is especially suitable[11]. A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[7]. In N. America it is used to some extent in re-afforestation and shelterbelt plantings on the prairies[6].

Wood - extremely tough, aromatic, close grained, light, fairly strong in endwise compression but moderately weak in bending, hard, durable in the soil. Used for interior finishes, bows, hoops, hafts, wheels etc[8][12][6].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Rocky Mountain juniper was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who used it in particular to treat problems connected with the chest and kidneys[13]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

A tea made from the terminal shoots has been used in the treatment of VD by some N. American Indian tribes[14]. The treatment has to be taken over a long period of time[13]. The fruits are appetizer, diuretic and stomachic[13]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of stomach, kidney and bladder problems[14][13]. An infusion of the twigs has been used in the treatment of fevers, pneumonia, coughs and colds[13]. A poultice of the mashed and dampened branches has been applied to skin sores[13]. The leaves are diaphoretic, disinfectant, febrifuge, haemostatic, laxative, sedative and tonic[8][9][13]. A decoction has been used in the treatment of internal bleeding, constipation and constant coughing[13]. The leaves have been boiled, then mixed with turpentine and used as an external treatment on rheumatic joints[13].

The leaves have been rubbed into the hair in order to treat dandruff[14][13].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Canopy or Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover



Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration[15][16]. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[17]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years[18].

Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[18][15].

Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[15].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Juniperus scopulorum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in most soils, including chalk[7], so long as they are well drained, preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil[18][17]. A drought tolerant species once established, succeeding in hot dry positions[7]. Plants are fairly wind-resistant[7].

A long-lived but slow-growing tree in its native range[6], it is very slow growing in Britain where it only makes a shrub[19]. Closely allied to J. virginiana[18][16] and hybridising with it where the ranges meet[20]. It differs mainly in the fruit, which takes two years to mature in this species instead of one[20]. Plants are resistant to honey fungus[21]. This tree is apparently resistant to the rust fungus that attacks the closely related J. virginiana[12].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Juniperus scopulorum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Juniperus scopulorum.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Juniperus scopulorum
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Unknown part (Coffee)
  • Unknown part (Condiment)
  • Fruit (Unknown use)
  • Unknown part (Tea)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Beads)
  • Unknown part (Incense)
  • Unknown part (Parasiticide)
  • Unknown part (Repellent)
  • Unknown part (Tinder)
  • Unknown part (Wax)
  • Unknown part (Wood)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Antidandruff)
  • Unknown part (Appetizer)
  • Unknown part (Diaphoretic)
  • Unknown part (Disinfectant)
  • Unknown part (Diuretic)
  • Unknown part (Haemostatic)
  • Unknown part (Kidney)
  • Unknown part (Laxative)
  • Unknown part (Poultice)
  • Unknown part (Sedative)
  • Unknown part (Stomachic)
  • Unknown part (Tonic)
  • Unknown part (VD)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
10 x 4 meters
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  3. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  4. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
  6. ? Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
  7. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  8. ? Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
  9. ? Whiting. A. F. Ethnobotany of the Hopi North Arizona Society of Science and Art (1939-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden. ()
  11. ? 11.011.1 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  12. ? Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-78958-3 (1987-00-00)
  13. ? 13.0013.0113.0213.0313.0413.0513.0613.0713.0813.0913.10 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  14. ? Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
  15. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Rushforth. K. Conifers. Christopher Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X (1987-00-00)
  17. ? 17.017.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  18. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  19. ? Mitchell. A. F. Conifers in the British Isles. HMSO ISBN 0-11-710012-9 (1975-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
  21. ? RHS. The Garden. Volume 112. Royal Horticultural Society (1987-00-00)
  22. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)