Monday, February 20, 2012

CA juniper ~ 02/20/12 ~ Pinnacles

I've walked this same trail half a dozen times and never noticed the prolific juniper shrubs (trees?). It's a bit embarrassing, really, especially considering the trail is called Juniper Canyon Trail. Doh! On previous visits I was more focused on the wildflowers and butterflies. I gravitate towards the showy, bright, and colorful. This time I noticed the pretty grey blue berries, my favorite color. They're not actually berries, per se, but female seed cones. I'm not quite sure why some pictures of cones actually look like cones and not berries. Can anyone tell me what's what? There are 5 Juniperus spp. native to CA. This surprised me, because when I think of junipers I think of landscape plants (J. chinensis), bonsai (J. x media and others), and gin (J. communis, common throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also native to CA). Learn something new every day.

4 comments:

queerbychoice said...

I think they start out looking like berries and age to looking like cones. Arborvitae cones do that.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hey, qbc, I'm not sure. I couldn't find any explanation of this online. Most CA junipers are either male or female. Jepsons says the pollen cones are only 2-3mm and the seed cones are 7-12 mm, spheric to ovoid
± blue maturing red-brown, dry. That doesn't explain the larger cone looking cones.

sniehans said...

I have done similar things. A trail in the Badlands always smelled of what I thought as 'cat pee'...took me at least a dozen walks to realize my nose can't tell the difference between cat urine and juniper! And here I thought I was stalking a bobcat!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Shaina, that's a really funny story.