Leaf: Evergreen, scale-like, arranged whorled in 3's resulting in a round twig, young or vigorously growing twigs may produce awl-like needles; small gland on back; yellow-green.
Flower: Species is dioecious; males are small, pale yellow, in large clusters at ends of twigs; females are small, round, pale green.
Fruit: Berry-like cones, round to slightly egg shaped, 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, bluish and glaucous but turning reddish brown when mature, sweet but dry, and not resinous, 2 (sometimes 1) seed per fruit, matures in 2 growing seasons.
Twig: Slender to moderate, round, initially covered with tight, yellow-green, scale-like leaves, later turning reddish brown.
Bark: Gray with reddish brown furrows and long, scaly, irregular ridges.
Form: Small tree or large shrub with a wide spreading, irregular crown.
Looks like: western juniper - Utah juniper - Arizona cypress - Tecate cypress
Additional Range Information: Juniperus californica is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDAFS FEIS Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information