Californian Juniper (Juniperus californica)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Californian Juniper
Juniperus californica

Wood – soft, close grained, durable in contact with the soil. It is used for fencing and fuel[82].

  • Medicinal Use

    The scorched twigs have been rubbed on the body in the treatment of fits[257].

    The leaves are analgesic, diaphoretic and hypotensive[257]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of high blood pressure, coughs and colds and to bring relief from a hangover (the bark was also used in this case)[257]. It has also been taken by pregnant women just prior to childbirth in order to relax the muscles[257].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked. A thick, sweet, dry, fibrous and non-resinous flesh[82, 229]. It can also be dried and ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in various dishes or eaten as a mush[36, 61, 82, 105, 257]. The fruit is produced abundantly in the wild, though it is unlikely to be freely produced in Britain[K]. The cones are about 10 – 20mm in diameter[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[1, 11, 200]. Established plants are drought tolerant, succeeding in hot dry positions[200]. A slow-growing and generally long-lived tree[229], all introductions to Britain up to now (1990) have proved tender, this plant is only really suitable for hot dry climates[81]. Grows better in dry areas with hot summers, W. Britain is generally to cool and wet for this species to thrive[200]. The seed takes two summers to ripen[229]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
South-western N. America – California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*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.