alligator juniper Cupressaceae Juniperus deppeana Steud. Listen to the Latin symbol: JUDE2 Other Fact Sheets
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
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Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
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