The bark is employed as a tinder and is also made into a slow match or can be shredded, bound into bundles and used as a torch to give light in the house. The crushed bark was twisted into a rope, tied at intervals with yucca (Yucca species), and wrapped into a coil. The free end was set on fire and kept smouldering by blowing on it at intervals. Fire could be carried in this fashion for several hours. The dried seeds have been used as beads or as the 'rattle' in rattles. A green dye is obtained from the bark and berries. A yellow dye is obtained from the whole plant. Ashes from the whole plant have been used as a mordant to fix the colour of dyes.Wood - moderately hard, somewhat heavy, slightly fragrant. When seasoned properly it is very durable and is used mainly for fencing and fuel. As a fuel it burns steadily and evenly.
The leaves are febrifuge, laxative and pectoral. An infusion is used in the treatment of stomach complaints, constipation, coughs and colds. An infusion was also used by pregnant women prior to childbirth in order to relax the muscles. A poultice of the heated twigs can be bound over a bruise or sprain in order to reduce the swelling. An infusion of the staminate cones has been used as a stomach tonic and in the treatment of dysentery. The chewed bark has been applied externally to help heal spider bites. It is also highly prized as a dressing on burns. The fruits are strongly diuretic.A gum from the plant has been used as a temporary filling in a decayed tooth.
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Trees are fairly fast growing for a Juniper, and are also long-lived in their native habitats. They grow better in dry areas with hot summers, western Britain is generally to cool and wet for this species to thrive. Plants are resistant to honey fungus. This species is closely related to J. occidentalis. The seed matures in 1 year. Some fruit is produced most years, but heavy crops only occur every 2 - 3 years.Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Problems, pests & diseases
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