Friday, November 06, 2015

Juniper

Luis Fernández García Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons
"Juniperus communis cones" by MPF - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons
I noticed this on the way back from Brighton coming down the A27 from the Ditchling junction and it reminded me that I've been meaning to post it on the blog. Back near the start of this daily species malarkey I did the two other native conifers found the UK, Scot's Pine and Yew. This is the third and least prevalent: Common Juniper, Juniperus communis. However, in global terms it is the apparently the most widespread woody plant!
Its common name in French genievre gives us our name for gin, the spirit which is flavoured with juniper 'berries' (amongst other aromatics). 
What's odd about juniper is that it grows in two quite different habitats in the UK. In the north it grows in wet, acidic conditions on hills and moors; in the south it is found on dry, calcareous soils such as the chalk that forms the Downs.
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