Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Conifer, evergreen, various forms, from a prostrate ground cover (less than 18 inches, 45 cm), or sprawling shrub, to a medium sized tree, 5-10 ft (1.5-3 m) high, branchlets triangular. Leaves only awl-shaped (needles), 3-15 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, spreading at a wide angle from the stem, tapering to a spiny point, concave above with a wide white band, often in whorls of three. Usually dioecious. Female cones, solitary, 12 mm long, globose, green at first then bluish or black, covered with waxy bloom.
- Sun. Grows in very poor soils, very adaptable to different soil types.
- Several varieties (var.) and many cultivars.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 2 Has a wider distribution than any other tree or shrub and the only circumpolar conifer of the northern hemisphere. It is native to Europe, northern areas of Asia, Africa, and North America (from Alaska to California, east to Newfoundland, south to Michigan, Nebraska, Georgia). In the Pacific Northwest it usually has a low-to-prostrate habit.
- Oil distilled from the fleshy cones is used in flavorings (e.g., gin).
- communis: common
- A number of cultivars are offered, including:
- Alpine Carpet™ (‘Mondap’) - low dense spreading habit, slow growing, to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide, deep blue-green foliage.
- Blueberry Delight™ (‘AmiDak’) - about 1 ft (30 cm) tall and 5 ft ( 1.5 m), dark green foliage, named for its prolific production of blue fruit, Zone 3; introduced by North Dakota State University.
- ‘Compressa’ - upright and very narrow, branches upright, slow growing, (2-3 cm per year), usually less than 30 inches (80 cm) tall,
- ‘Depressa Aurea’ - rarely above 4 ft (1.2 m) high, essentially procumbent, new shoots strongly colored yellow, fades with time.
- ‘Effusa’ - flat 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) high, spreading, 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) wide, open habit, new foliage is cinnamon-brown, maturing to bright green.
- ‘Gold Cone’ - upright habit, columnar, to 12-15 ft (3.5-4.5 m) tall, dense, foliage tipped in yellow.
- ‘Green Carpet’ - ground cover, only 4-6 inches (8-15 cm) high, slowly spreading to 3 ft (0.9 m).
- ‘Pioneer’ - low growing, height to 1 ft (0.3 m) with a 3 ft (0.9 m) spread.
- ‘Repanda’ - creeping form, flat to round, 5 ft (1.5 m) wide and about 1 ft (30 cm) high, branches thin and densely arranged, needles 5-8 mm, soft, not sharp to the touch.
- ‘Sentinel’ (‘Pencil Point’) -
- very narrow columnar form, to 6 ft (1.8 m) tall, bright green foliage.