Juniper = common name for a genus of plants, comprising about 50 species of evergreen shrubs and trees native to the northern hemisphere. Junipers, which are conifers in the cypress family, produce their seeds in red or purple berrylike fruits. These are actually cones, similar in structure to pine cones. The leaves are usually needlelike on young plants and scalelike on older plants. About 15 species occur in North America.
Eastern red cedar, actually a juniper, is the most widely distributed conifer in the eastern United States. Its wood contains an oil that deters moths and is often used to line chests. The wood has also been used for making wooden pencils. Rocky mountain juniper is a closely related western species, although its multibranched stems make its wood less valuable. The common juniper is the only species that occurs in both North America and Eurasia. Unlike most junipers, it produces only needlelike leaves. This usually bushy species grows on poor soils and is of little economic importance. Many junipers—