Cupressaceae (cypress family) Juniperus

Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’ Hollywood juniper

Eastern Asia

The small variety ‘Torulosa’, with character in its branches and leaves, which are completely reduced to stem-clasping scales, can be seen at the entrance to Old Chemistry, at the east entrance to Building 500 (opposite 505 Lasuen Mall), and on Lomita Mall south of the northwest corner of the Main Quad. There are many varieties of J. chinensis, including several prostrate types that are chosen as ground cover where lawn water is scarce. The parent species in China, which can approach 100 feet, must resent the torture inflicted on its progeny by man.

Native Americans reportedly ate juniper berries from the local junipers, J. occidentalis, which can be seen at Stanford Sierra Camp, bravely growing out of apparently solid rock, as well as preparing them in other ways, but in Europe the berries are best known as a flavoring for gin and for enhancing the flavor of venison and sausages. Gin is not a short form of juniper, but of Geneva, as still labeled on Dutch stoneware gin bottles. The native juniper can be seen in Palo Alto at 1043 Parkinson Avenue, in front of a Douglas fir.

Name derivation: Juniperus – Latin name for juniper; chinensis – of China.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. John Rawlings added information on Pfitzer, subsequently removed (temporarily) until it is sorted out (Jan 2024, SP).