Virginia Tech Dendrology

alligator juniper Cupressaceae Juniperus deppeana Steud. Listen to the Latin symbol: JUDE2
Leaf: Evergreen, scale-like, sharp and long pointed, most are tight to the twig in opposite pairs resulting in a slightly square twig, a few are awl-like and point away from the twig; bluish green, often with a whitish resin dot on backside.
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, 1/2 inch in diameter, reddish brown often with white glaucous bloom, scales often with a blunt point, 3 to 5 seeds per cone; mature in two growing seasons.
Twig: Slender, initially covered with green scale-like leaves and somewhat angular, later turning reddish brown.
Bark: Very unique, in that it develops nearly square blocking plates, giving it a checkered pattern (alligator-like). Square patches are dark gray with nearly black fissures; younger branches have scaly bark.
Form: Medium sized tree reaching up to 55 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet in diameter; short trunk with a wide spreading crown.
Looks like: Rocky Mountain juniper - Utah juniper - oneseed juniper - Arizona cypress
leaf fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Juniperus deppeana is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting alligator juniper.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2018 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