Juniperus distans Florin
Juniperus potaninii Kom.
Juniperus zaidamensis Kom.
Juniperus zaidamensis squarrosa Kom.
Sabina tibetica (Kom.) W.C.Cheng & L.K.Fu
Juniperus tibetica is an evergreen tree with a dense, ovoid crown; it can grow up to 30 metres tall, though occasionally it is much smaller and more shrub-like[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as an incense and a fuel. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
There is an increased pressure both on the trees themselves and on their habitat by an increasing population, in conjunction with slow growth in extreme edaphic and climatic conditions. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
E. Asia - central to western China
Picea forests, forming groves or small forests at high elevations, growing on rocky slopes and ridges, as well as old gravel terraces, on rocky soils from siliceous as well as calcareous parent material; at elevations from 2,600 - 4,900 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Juniperus tibetica is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -20°c when fully dormant[
]. The climate, mostly in the monsoon shadow of the main crest of the Himalayas, is continental with extremes of solar radiation and frost[
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil.
This tree forming species should be grown more widely as an ornamental[
A slow-growing tree, it renews itself only very slowly. Increased population pressures in recent decades have resulted in shortages of this resource[
Where moisture is adequate, this species can become a large tree in the wild, and it has the distinction of forming the highest treeline in the northern hemisphere, at 4,900 metres in southern Tibet[
This species is usually monoecious, though dioecious forms also exist[
The purplish black, ovoid or subglobose seed cones are 9 - 16mm long and 7 - 13mm wide, containing a single seed[
]. We have seen no reports on edibility.
As the principal high altitude tree in large parts of Xizang [Tibet] and adjacent areas, this species is an important source of wood to local people, who use it for firewood and on a limited scale for other purposes, such as incense in Buddhist rituals[
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[