Eastern Juniper Tree

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Eastern Juniper Tree - Provided by eHow
The Eastern juniper tree is commonly mistaken for a cedar tree, but it belongs to the evergreen family and produces small cones. Learn about the Eastern juniper tree with tips from an ecologist in this free video on Texas trees. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Kerry Russel

Video Transcript

My name is Kerry Russell I have a Masters degree in Landscape Ecology and we are going to take a minute just to speak a little bit about Forest Ecology. So if you look down on the forest floor down here, you are going to see all the species that we have already covered so far. The three needled fascicle of the lob lily pine. Along with it's cone. And then these leaves belong to a post oak. And then if you follow me up here, you'll see the next species. This is what we call a Juniper. Specifically Eastern Juniper, Juniperus Virginiana. A couple of important notes about this tree. One is that most people are inclined to call this a cedar tree. Which is a bit of a misnomer. It was a name that was given to it in error many years ago because indeed a cedar tree is a true tree. It just happens to not be this one. So lets all try to get in to practice of calling this a Juniper rather then a cedar. It's the evergreen just like the pine tree is, it is a Conifer or cone bearing tree just like the pine tree is but the cones on the Junipers are much, much, much smaller and they are hard to find, because whenever they reach maturity the whole cone actually dissolves. So in the end you never really have a pine cone or a cone, a Juniper cone left over. We are here in Bastrop thirty miles from east of Austin. Here this is an Eastern Juniper. In Austin, you have a species very similar to this but the form of it is much different. This one is a much, much taller tree in the form that you see growing in the Austin area along the Edwards plateau, is called an Ash Juniper. Much scrubbier, smaller, more rounded, closer to the ground. Where as this one is taller. So we are still looking at an Eastern Juniper here, but we've gone over to another individual and what I want you to notice here are the facts that this is what the young cones look like. Kind of very purplish in color and they are very aromatic when ever you crush them and smell. Even more interesting is the fact that the Juniper as a species is said to be dioecious, dioecious is Latin for two houses which means that the male and the female reproductive organs do not live on the same tree. Therefore we have some individual trees of the species Juniper that are male, like the one we looked at earlier, which would have pollen sacs in the springtime and then you have other individuals of the species Juniper that are female that would be bearers of the cones. This is uncommon in the plant kingdom. The majority of plants are said to be monoecious, one house. Which means that trees do not have a gender that have both the male and the female sexual organs on the same tree, the same plant, the same stem.