Selected Trees and Shrubs
Juniperus bermudiana, Common name: Bermuda Juniper, Bermuda Cedar
Plant Family: A sub-tropical, evergreen, coniferous tree of the Cupressaceae or Cypress family, a family of primarily northern hemisphere, temperate zone plants; apart from J. bermudiana, the family also includes the silver foliaged, sub-tropical Alligator Juniper (J. pachyphloea), the tropical West Indian Juniper (J. barbadensis), and the Common Juniper of temperate climes (J. communis) whose berries are used in the flavoring of gin.
Description: A medium-sized, resinous and aromatic, densely pyramidal juniper tree, up to 15 m tall (50 ft), with upright, radiating and gracefully swaying branches; bark thin, exfoliating in strips; leaves 4-ranked and inconspicuous, mostly overlapping, opposite, grooved, scale-like and prickly, about 1 mm long (0.04 in); cones born in leaf axils, male and female cones on different trees; mature female seed cones dark blue with a bloom, of compressed globular (sub-globose) shape, 4-5 mm long (0.16-0.20 in), 6-8 mm wide (0.23-0.31 in).
Natural Habitat: Sub-tropical lowland and open forest, on limestone-derived soils on hillsides; propagation by seed, germination taking 3-6 months.
Origin and Distribution: Native to the island of Bermuda, but now a widely distributed ornamental from the tropics to the warm temperate zones; in Bermuda, overexploitation in the past, and, more recently, infestation of two scale insects has caused severe population reductions, as much as 90% by some estimates, putting the tree on the threatened species list.
Uses: Primarily ornamental and widely used for landscaping, but its timber also used for making "cedar" pencils; an essential oil is obtained by distillation from the wood and leaves; that from wood is often used for perfumery, sometimes in medicine; oil from leaves and shoots is also used in medicine; oil reportedly has powerful diuretic properties.
Indigenous Legends: In Bermuda, tree was formerly felled (mostly in the 16th to mid-20th centuries) for housing, shipbuilding, furniture, and export.
Anon. Official Guide to the Botanic Gardens, Dominica. Kew Gardens, London, 1924?
H.F. Macmillan. Tropical Planting and Gardening. Macmillan, London 1956
Juniperus bermudiana. Gymnosperm Database. Dept. of Botany, Univ. of Bonn, Bonn, Germany 2005
Cupressaceae. Gymnosperm Database. Dept. of Botany, Univ. of Bonn, Bonn, Germany 2005
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1998
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