• View from the Canyon Rim Trail. Photo by Jeff Kochevar

    Colorado

    National Monument Colorado

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Visitor Center is OPEN Oct 1-Nov 30 9am-5pm, Dec-mid March 9am-4:30pm

    Visitor Center is open everyday except December 25

Utah Juniper

Utah Juniper
 

Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)

Other Names:

Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Description: may grow up to 9 m tall, although average height is 3-6 m. Seedling leaves are 5-10 mm long and needle-like in appearance. Mature leaves are 1-2 mm-long scales that hug the stems tightly. Bark is fibrous and often twisted. Cones are 8-13 mm in diameter and look like waxy, blue-brown berries 8-13 mm. This species is evergreen.

Range: occurs throughout the Rocky Mountain Region from Utah to Colorado, north to Montana, and south to New Mexico and Arizona. It grows throughout Colorado National Monument.

Did you know: the blue "berries" of the Utah Juniper are actually cones, making the Utah Juniper more closely related to a pine tree than to any true berry-producing plant. Various Native American groups in the desert west used Juniper "berries" medicinally, ceremonially, or secularly as beads. Today, we use the sour-tasting cones of the Juniper to flavor gin (which fittingly derives its name from Dutch jenever, meaning "juniper").

Did You Know?

Golden eagle

When desperate, golden eagles can take down animals as large as bighorn sheep or mule deer. Golden eagles can be seen in and around Colorado National Monument. More...