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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nature's Garden

Let us forget the cool April weather. Today I wish to write about something that is near and dear to my heart - the botanical life of the forest. The woods I live in has a rich variety of plants that share the forest with the tall trees. Over the next few months I hope to present to you as many as I can. One of my goals is to eventually list them and see what I come up with. It will definitely be a learning experience on my part, as I revisit more familiar plants and also try to identify the unfamiliar ones in the beautiful natural garden of the forest.

Common Juniper
Juniperus communis
Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress)

Location: woods, beside a spruce tree, other trees in area,
grows abundantly in this region of British Columbia.

Sprawling, coniferous evergreen shrub. Stems are woody.
When you look at the plant, you can see a blue tinge as well as green.

Close-up of needles
The needles can be prickly. There is a white stripe on the upper needle that gives the plant a blue cast, while the underside is green.

Berries on stem
Juniper berries are not true berries but cones that usually contain 2 to 3 seeds. When mature, they are purple-black with a dusty look. They have a pungent pine-y aroma when crushed.

This berry is 5mm

containing two seeds.

Good food source for grouse, deer, moose and small birds.

Traditionally to flavour gin. The berries that are used are full grown but still green.
In European cuisine.
For medicinal purposes.