Spanish juniper characteristics

What is a Spanish juniper?

Characteristics of juniper (Juniperus thurifera)

English common name: Spanish juniper

Scientific name: Juniperus thurifera L. The name comes from the Latin “Thurifer” (= incense) + suffix “era” (producer, container, etc), that is, “producer of incense”. This name is due to the use of this plant as incense to mask the bad smell. This same bad smell has been used to drive away insects. The name of the genus “sabina” comes from Sabini, a place in Italy where junipers are very abundant.

Family: Cupresaceae

Description of Spanish juniper

Creeping shrub from the cold climates of Asia and Europe. Although it can reach 3.5 meters in height, it does not usually exceed a meter. However it grows quite a bit in width, reaching up to 4.5 meters.

It stands out for having stems with reddish-brown bark that crumbles easily and for its dark green leaves in the form of overlapping scales.

Habitat. Where does juniper grow?

It normally grows between 1,000 and 2,500 meters in cold places, on poor, limestone and rocky soils.


Essential oil very rich in: Alpha-pinene, limonene, beta-phellandrene, myrcene, delta-3-carene and alpha-terpineol. with minor amounts of phellandrene, borneol, sabinene, linalool, myrtenol and camphene (leaves and fruits)

  • Acids: gallic acid, juniperic acid, sabinic acid
  • Resin (Fruits and wood)
  • Podophyllotoxin
  • thujone
  • Terpinolene
  • Tannins (Fruits and wood)

Uses of juniper

The juniper is a shrub from cold places with poor soils that is used as:

  • For its wood: Highly appreciated for the construction of quality furniture.
  • As a medicinal plant

punto rojo More information on juniper

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

26 January, 2022

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