Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Conifer, evergreen, usually a low shrub, rarely a small tree to 10-15 ft (3-4.5 m), dense branches, branchlets thin, about 1 mm, more rounded than angular. Leaves very sharp, both needle and scale-like leaves, needles outspread, about 4 mm long, conspicuous midrib and green or blue-green above, found on young plants and older branches; scale leaves opposite (4 ranked), 1 mm long, usually with a resin gland. Foliage emits an unpleasant odor when crushed (difficult to detect in cold weather) and has a bitter taste. Both sexes on the same plant or more commonly on separate plants (dioecious). Female cones on recurved stalks, globose or ovoid, 5-7 mm thick, ripen in the first fall or the following spring.
- Sun Adaptable Does well on limestone soil and well-drained and dry soils
- Hardy to USDA Zone (3) 4 Native to the mountains of southern Europe, Siberia, Caucasus, and Asia Minor. In cultivation for centuries, mostly the low growing forms.
The species is rather ragged looking and not often planted in landscapes, however, there are many attractive selections available, including:
- ‘Arcadia’ - 1-2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) tall, 6 ft (1.8 m) wide, compact, layered, mostly scale-like leaves, bright green; Zone 3 (Snyder, 2000).
- ‘Blue Danube’ (‘Blue Donau’) - 2 ft (0.6 m) tall, 6 ft (1.8 m) wide, branch tips bowed upward, leaves mostly scale-like, needle-like inside the plant, blue-gray foliage.
- ‘Broadmore’ - 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall, 10 ft (3 m) wide, dense, mounding habit, male, similar to ‘Tamariscifolia’ but with finer foliage, needles 3-4 mm long, gray-green; protected locations in Zone 3 (Snyder, 2000).
- ‘Buffalo’ - also similar to ‘Tamariscifolia’ but with feathery branches and bright green foliage, female; listed as hardy to Zone 2 by some, but Snyder (2000) rates it for Zone 4 or protected locations in Zone 3, even though it showed no winter injury in the Minnesota Arboretum (Zone 3/4?).
- Calgary Carpet™ (‘Monna’) - low spreading, listed as from 9-18 inches (0.2-0.5 m) tall to 4-10 ft (1.2-3 m) wide, soft green foliage, a selection from ‘Arcadia’; Zone 3 (Snyder, 2000).
- Moor-Dense® (‘Monard’ PP 6656) - low, to 1 ft (0.3 m) tall, 8 ft (2.4 m) wide, similar to ‘Broadmore’, but lower growing and more layered, bright gray-green.
- ‘New Blue’ (syn. J. sabina var. tamariscifolia ‘New Blue’) - see below, under ‘Tamariscifolia’.
- ‘Skandia’ (‘Scandia’) - similar to ‘Arcadia’ but lower growing, 1 ft (0.2 m)or so tall, 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) wide, grayish green, female; Zone 3 (Snyder, 2000).
- ‘Tamariscifolia’ (syn. J. sabina var. tamariscifolia) - low spreading, mounded form, 18 inches (0.5 m) high, to 3 ft (0.9 m) when old, by 10 ft (3 m).
- ‘New Blue’ (syn. J. sabina var. tamariscifolia ‘New Blue’) - similar to the above but with bluish-green foliage.