Juniperus communis L. is a coniferous evergreen shrub or a small columnar tree, multistemmed, decumbent or rarely upright. The crown is generally depressed. It grows very slowly. The morphological characteristics including growth form differ somewhat according to variety. Adventitious root development can occur when branches come in contact with the ground become buried. Juniper has a thin, brown, fibrous bark which exfoliates in thin strips. The branches are spreading or ascending; branchlets are erect. Twigs are yellowish or green when young, turn brown and harden with age. The leaves are simple, stiff and arranged in whorls of three with pungent odour. They are green but sometimes appearing silver when glaucous, spreading; abaxial glands are very elongate. The adaxial surface has a glaucous stomatal band. The apex is acute to obtuse, mucronate. Young leaves tend to be more needlelike whereas mature leaves are scalelike. The fruits are berrylike seed cones. They have straight peduncles and are of globose to ovoid shape, 6-13 mm, red at first, ripening to a glaucous bluish black, resinous to obscurely woody. Male stroboli are sessile or stalked, and female strobili are made up of green, ovate or acuminate scales. Juniper berries take two or three years to ripen, so that blue and green berries occur on the same plant. Each cone has 2-3 seeds of 4-5 mm. The seeds require a period of cold stratification. 2n=22. Individuals can live for more than 170 years.
Juniperus communis - Food and Agriculture Organization, http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000461.htm (accessed January 24, 2017).