Juniperus lutchuensis Koidz.
Juniperus triangularis Mast.
Juniperus taxifolia is an evergreen prostrate or decumbent shrub when growing close to the coast, becoming a small, erect tree further inland. Usually growing from 1 - 3 metres tall, it can sometimes reach up to 13 metres[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It is grown as an ornamental, where it can be used to provide shade from salt-laden winds.
No actual threats are currently known to occur, however, the extremely fragmented distribution by nature of its occurrence on oceanic islands and its consequently small area of occupancy make this species susceptible to events that could reduce subpopulations. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
E. Asia - central and southern Japan
Rocks and rocky slopes when growing close to the coast, further inland it grows in tall grassland and thickets on deeper, though usually rocky or gravely soils; at elevations up to 268 metres[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Juniperus taxifolia is not a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate short-lived temperatures down to around -5°c when fully dormant[
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil. The plant is obviously subjected to strong and moist, salt-laden ocean winds in the wild[
In some of the larger islands (e.g. Okinawa) this species is being used as a shore windbreak and is also cultivated in gardens. It is in cultivation in gardens in mainland Japan, but rare[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The purple-brown, globose seed cones take more than two years to ripen; they are 8 - 9mm in diameter, containing three seeds[
]. We have seen no reports of any edibility.
The plant can be grown close to the coast, where it can be used as a shore windbreak[
In the past its wood was used to a limited extent in house building, for posts and as fuel[
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[
]. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process[
]. 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[
Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/early autumn in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn[
Layering in September/early autumn. Takes 12 months[