Aligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana)

J. pachyphlaea. J. deppeana pachyphlaea. (Torr.)Martinez.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Aligator Juniper
Juniperus deppeana

Wood – light, soft, not strong, brittle, close grained[82]. Although easily worked, it is of limited value as lumber and is used mainly for fence posts and fuel[229].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[85, 161, 183]. A dry and mealy texture[82, 181] but with a sweet and palatable taste[2, 181]. The fruit can also be dried, ground into a meal and prepared as a mush or cakes[95, 105, 183]. The fruit has a sweetish palatable pulp and is about 15mm in diameter[183]. The cones take 2 years to mature[200].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 – 3 months duration[78, 81]. Soaking the seed for 3 – 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[11]. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years[1]. Cuttings of mature wood, 5 – 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[1, 78]. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months[78].
Succeeds in most soils if they are well drained, preferring a neutral or slightly alkaline soil[11]. Requires a hot dry position in full sun[200]. Does well on lime[200]. A slow-growing but long-lived tree[229], it grows better in dry areas with hot summers[200]. Western Britain is generally to cool and wet for this species to thrive[200]. Trees often produce vigorous shoots from the base of the trunk, or from the stumps of felled trees[82]. The seed takes two summers to ripen[229]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
South-western N. America – Texas, Arizona and Mexico.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.