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.