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Classification, origin and diffusion
The prickly juniper is a plant native to the Mediterranean areas. It grows on sandy shores in a retro-dune environment, in association with Juniperetum macrocarpae and other typical species of the Mediterranean scrub. It is found along the Mediterranean coasts, in Turkey i in part of the Black Sea.
Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. macrocarpa (photo J.M. Caraballo http://nuestronombre.es/puntatlantis)
Juniperus oxycedrus L. macrocarpa (Sibth amp; Sm.) Ball (photo Samuel)
Size and bearing
It has a bushy or expanded and disordered tree shape, up to 15 m high; dense foliage, dark green, globular and then flattened-umbrella-like.
Trunk and bark
Sturdy trunk, twisted and branched at the base, with smooth, light brown rind, which is peeled into narrow strips.
In verticils of three, they are lesiform, flattened, rigid and pungent; dark green with two gray bands on the lower page.
Dioecious species: the male, yellow and ovoid cones are solitary in the axil of the leaves; the female ones, axillary, are globular and green-blue. The fruit (called coccola) is a bluish-green arcidida, pruinose from unripe, therefore opaque and reddish-brown.
The wood of the old specimens, thanks to its hardness, can be used in crafts; is a forest essence suitable for stabilizing coastal dunes.