African Juniper

Juniperus procera

African Juniper, Juniperus procera, photo © by Michael Plagens

This tree on the Elgeyo Escarpment has escaped the axe by virtue of its location in the public rest area. Iten, Kenya. July 2014.

habit of African Juniper, Juniperus procera, photo © by Michael Plagens From Wikipedia: Known in English as African Juniper or East African Juniper, is a coniferous tree native to the mountains of eastern Africa from eastern Sudan south to Zimbabwe, and the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula. It is a characteristic tree of the Afromontane flora, medium-sized, reaching 20-25 m (rarely 40 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5-2 m diameter and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8-15 mm long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.5-3 mm long on older plants, arranged in decussate pairs or whorls of three. It is largely dioecious with separate male and female plants, but some individual plants produce both sexes. The cones are berry-like, 4-8 mm in diameter, blue-black with a whitish waxy bloom, and contain 2-5 seeds; they are mature in 12-18 months. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring. It is the only juniper to occur south of the equator. It is closely related to Juniperus excelsa from southwestern Asia, probably deriving from a common ancestor with that species in southwestern Asia.

Cupressaceae -- Cypress Family

More Information:

stems and scale-like leaves of Juniperus procera are derived from swollen, fleshy scales, photo © Michael Plagens

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created on 16 Nov. 2012,
updated 5 Aug. 2014