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Juniperus communis
Common juniper

Common juniper (Juniperus communis) is a slow-growing coniferous tree or shrub, characterized by its dark fleshy fruits and needles in whorls of three. The common juniper is the most widespread conifer in the world and is distributed throughout large parts of the northern hemisphere. Across its range, the tree exists as several different subspecies.

Different parts of the tree contain essential oils used for various medicinal therapies, while its berries are used for flavouring gin. Ecologically, the tree is important as a food source for a number of birds and wild mammals, as well as livestock. Different cultivars of the species are also widely planted as ornamentals in parks and gardens.

Common juniper grows in various habitats, in elevations up to 2400 m, with one subspecies even occurring above the tree line in the Euro-Siberian mountains. The tree grows in a multitude of soils and on rocks and is also found in open grasslands or in mixed stands with both broadleaved and coniferous trees. The common juniper is a hardy species, tolerant to poor soils, drought and low temperatures, but the species does require abundant light. 

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