Juniperus squamata

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Juniperus squamata
Juniperus squamata0.jpg
Foliage of cultivar 'Meyeri'
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnosperms
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Cupressales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Section: Juniperus sect. Sabina
J. squamata
Binomial name
Juniperus squamata
'Blue Star'
Blue Star juniper shrub in Pennsylvania.

Juniperus squamata, the flaky juniper, or Himalayan juniper is a species of coniferous shrub in the cypress family Cupressaceae, native to the Himalayas and China.

It represents the provincial tree of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (unofficial).


It is an evergreen shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching 2–10 metres (6+12–33 feet) tall (rarely 15 m), with flaky brown bark, and a prostrate to irregularly-conical crown. The leaves are broad, needle-like, 3–9 millimetres (1838 in) long, arranged in six ranks in alternating whorls of three, and often strongly a glaucous blue-green in color. The cones are berry-like, globose to ovoid, 4–9 mm long, and 4–6 mm diameter. Often, they are a glossy black and contain one seed; they are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 3–4 mm long and shed their pollen in early spring. It is largely dioecious, with pollen and seed cones produced on separate plants, but occasionally monoecious.[2][3][4]


Three to five varieties are accepted, with treatment differing between different authors:[2][3][4]

  • Juniperus squamata var. squamata – leaves mostly 5–9 mm. Throughout the standard range.
  • Juniperus squamata var. fargesii Rehder & E.H.Wilson – leaves mostly 3–5 mm. Confined to the eastern half of the range in China.
  • Juniperus squamata var. hongxiensis Y.F.Yu & L.K.Fu; often included in var. squamata.[2]
  • Juniperus squamata var. parviflora Y.F.Yu & L.K.Fu; often included in var. squamata.[2]

Juniperus morrisonicola Hayata from Taiwan is often treated as a synonym,[3] or a variety Juniperus squamata var. morrisonicola (Hayata) H.L.Li & H.Keng,[5] but is better treated as a distinct species as it has a distinct DNA profile.[2]


The Latin specific epithet squamata means small, scale-like leaves.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found in (and native to) northeastern Afghanistan east to western Yunnan in southwestern China, with disjunct populations north to western Gansu, east to Fujian, and Taiwan. Recently, however, it was introduced to the United States in 1964 after being exported from the Netherlands.[7][8] It grows at altitudes from 1,600 to 4,900 m (5,200 to 16,100 ft).[2][3][4][1]


Juniperus squamata is widely grown as an ornamental plant in Europe and North America, valued for its bluish foliage and compact habit. The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[9]


  1. ^ a b Farjon, A. (2013). "Juniperus squamata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42254A2967233. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42254A2967233.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Adams, R. P. (2004). Junipers of the World. Trafford. ISBN 1-4120-4250-X
  3. ^ a b c d Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4
  4. ^ a b c Flora of China: Juniperus squamata
  5. ^ Gymnosperm Database: Juniperus squamata
  6. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
  7. ^ "Blue Star juniper - Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' - PNW Plants". Retrieved 2022-05-29.
  8. ^ "flaky juniper - Encyclopedia of Life". Retrieved 2022-05-29.
  9. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 56. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Juniperus squamata 'Blue Carpet'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Juniperus squamata 'Holger'". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 26 September 2020.