Juniperus chinensis
Common name: 
Chinese Juniper
ju-NIP-er-us chi-NEN-sis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen, tree or wide spreading shrub, to 70 ft (20 m) tall and 20 ft (6 m) wide, brown bark.  Foliage is pungent.  Juvenile needles are narrow, awl-shaped, sharp pointed, 8 mm long, borne in pairs or in 3s; adult leaves are scale-like, in 4 ranks (2 opposite pairs), lying flat along the stem.  Fruit is white-blue then violet or brown, more or less globose, to 12 mm wide, ripen the second year.
  • Sun and partial shade.  Best on moist, well-drained, but tolerates dry soils once established.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3-9, depending upon cultivar.  Used in bonsai.    Native to China, Mongolia, and Japan.
  • The species type is not often used in landscaping since there are many fine selections commercially available, Dirr (1998) lists over 80, they include:
    • ‘Armstrong’  (syn. J × media ‘Armstrongii’)  -  about 4 ft (1.2 m) high, similar spread, leaves mostly scale-like, except at base of branches, bright green, maintains color in cold weather.
    • ‘Blue Alps’  -  vigorous shrub, upright branches, arching, open, sharp needles, blue-green color.
    • ‘Blue Point’  -  upright, broad, conical form, may reach 12 ft (3.6 m) high and 8 ft (2.4 m) wide, very densely branched, blue-green foliage.
    • ‘Daniel's Dwarf’  -  dwarf, low growing, wide spreading shrub, to 1-2 ft high and a spread of 2-3 ft tall (0.3-0.6 × 0.6 -0.9 m) at maturity .
    • Gold Coast™  -  spreading shrub, 3 ft tall by 5 ft wide (0.9 × 1.5 m); foliage is yellow-gold, which deepens in winter.
    • ‘Gold Lace’  -   yellow foliage ["most golden of all junipers", Dirr, (1998)], compact habit, 4 ft (1.2 m) tall and 6 ft (1.8 m)wide.
    • ‘Hetzii’  (syn. J × media ‘Hetzii’)  -  fast-growing, upright-spreading, may reach 10 × 10 ft (3 × 3 m) or more, bluish-green foliage.
    • ‘Keteleeri’  -  evergreen, pyramidal tree, 15-20 ft (4.5-6m) tall or taller, branches ascending  Leaves scale-like, very pointed, green, female clone with spherical cones having a recurved stalk, abundant fruit.
    • ‘Maney’  -  large, multi-stemmed, spreading shrub with a distinctive upright arching habit of growth, slow growing but may reach 6 ft tall with a spread of 5 ft (1.8 × 1.5 m), branches are covered in foliage all the way to the ground.
    • ‘Pfitzeriana’  (syn. J × media ‘Pfitzeriana’; J. × pfitzeriana [Pfitzer Group])   -   wide spreading shrub, stout, ascending, thick branches with drooping tips, 6 ft (1.8 m) tall, spread may be double that, both scale-like and needle leaves, bright green; very common.
    • ‘Robusta Green’  -  upright form, can reach 15 ft ( 4.5 m) tall and 7 ft (2.1 m) wide, bright green foliage, female, produces abundant cones.
    • ‘San Jose’  -  low growing creeping form, to 2 ft (0.3 m) tall, spread of 6 ft (1.8 m) or more, foliage sage green
    • ‘Saybrook Gold’  (PP5014)  -  spreading arching shrub, stiff branches with drooping tips, to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall by 6 ft (1.8 m) wide, needle-like foliage is bright yellow in summer and bronze-yellow in winter.
    • ‘Shimpaku’  -   low, irregular vase shape, 1-3 ft tall to 5 ft wide, finely textured foliage (needle-like), green color; popular for bonsai use.
    • ‘Spearmint’  -   narrow, pyramid habit, dense, to 15 ft (4.5 m) tall and spread 4 ft (1.2 m), leaves mostly scale-like, bright green.
    • ‘Stricta’  -  narrowly conical, densely branched, leaves needle-like, prickly, blue-gray.
    • ‘Torulosa’  (‘Kaizuka’; Hollywood Juniper)  -  large shrub/tree, 20-30 ft (6-9 m) high, female, branches slightly twisted, leaves scale-like, vivid green.
    • ‘Variegata’  -  conical habit, densely branched, leaves mostly awl-shaped, splashed with creamy white.
  • Some selections previously listed as J. chinensis are considered hybrids of J. chinensis and J. sabina and to indicate this were placed under the designation J. × media.  Later the specific epithet, media, was found to have already been in use for a different Juniper hybrid, so its use to signify a J. chinensis - J. sabina hybrid is illegitimate.  See The Pfitzer Story in the info section of ‘Pfitzeriana’ for more detailed information on this taxonomic problem.


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit and trunk, bark

    plant habit and trunk, bark

  • plant habit, very old tree

    plant habit, very old tree

  • trunk of very old tree

    trunk of very old tree