Juniperus deppeana

Accession Count: 1
Common Name: Alligator Juniper, Alligator Bark Juniper
Family Name: Cupressaceae
Botanical Name: Juniperus deppeana
Sub Species:
Variety:
Forma:
Cultivar: 'Pachyphlaea'
Characteristics: While this is the largest southwestern juniper, ranging in heights from 20 to 50 feet, it is very slow growing. It has a dense rounded or pyramidal crown with a spreading canopy. This evergreen tree sits on a single massive trunk but can be multi-trunked. The leaves are bluish green, pointed, and sacle-like. They are about 1/16 of an inch long and form on dense branches. The cones or berries are reddish-brown beneath a waxy gray coating. They are hard and approximately ½ inch in diameter. The berries generally have 3 to 5 seeds and do not mature until the second year. The bark is strikingly checked, in an almost alligator like pattern.
Compound: Jun dep
Geographic Origin: Texas, Arizona, Mexico
Ecozone Origin: Nearctic
Biome Origin: SW, MX
Natural History: This species of juniper is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. It received its common name from the thick, checkered, furrowed bark which is divided into scales that resemble the skin on the backs of alligators. This species is very slow growing, but lives typically from 500 to 800 years, with records of 1100 and 1400 years. Birds and mammals enjoy the berries of the juniper, which are available at times when other food is scarce.
Cultivation Notes: The alligator bark juniper is perfect in transition xeriscape landscapes when trying to conserve water, or even perfect in areas with low water availability. It is very sensitive to heat, so it will do better in places with moderate water, and lower-moderate temperatures. Although it is heat sensitive, full sun is still favored for proper growth and development of the juniper. There are no acknowledgeable flowers or fruits that are produced.
Ethnobotany: The wood of this species is fragrant with attractive grain and color, which makes it well suited for the making of novelty items such as bookends and small chests. The wood is also used commonly as firewood because it is light, easy to split, has a high heat value, and gives off a pleasant aroma when burned. The wood is also occasionally made into particle board. The J. deppeana is outstanding by itself, as a background or screen, a median, and even a buffer for plantings.

Height: 20 - 50 feet
Width: 20 - 50 feet
Growth Rate: Slow Growing
Grow Season: Summer
Flower Season:
Color:
Function: Accent
Spread: Non-spreading
Allergen: Allergenic
Invasive: Benign
Toxicity: Benign
Hardy: Hardy
Water Use: Moderate Water Use

Citations:
  1. Jones, Warren D, and Charles M Sacamano. Landscape Plants for Dry Regions: More Than 600 Species from around the World. Fisher Books, 2000.
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Juniperus deppeana