Juniperus communis, Juniper

Origins Northern Hemisphere
Type Perennial (evergreen)
Hardiness Zones 2 - 8
Interest Very decorative, year-round foliage, attractive looking cones (male and female plants produce, differently shaped ones) in Spring/Early Summer, followed by fruit that lasts all through the Winter
Height 1.5 -  40 ft (0.5 - 12 m)
Sun or semi-shade, most soils, wet, dry, and even, exposed conditions.
By seeds (slow, may take years to germinate) or by cuttings (take these in early Fall).
Highly ornamental and adaptable shrub, desirable in any garden. Native American Indians used it to treat several health conditions (both, internal and external), and so, do professional aromatherapists, these days.
Juniper berry is well recognized for its qualities as a spice. Its deep, pungent aroma, found irresistible to many (including the author), had been widely utilised to flavor drinks (gin, sodas, vodkas, syrups, beer, liquors, etc.), and foods, such as Polish Hunter's Stew (Bigos), potatoes, venison, smoked sausages, etc.
Caution - juniper does not necessarily make a good companion to everybody. People with allergies may suffer bad reactions on contact (mainly through pollen).
Also, other types of junipers, e.g. Red Cedar, while highly appreciated as a tree and wood, can, in fact, be toxic and dangerous. Be safe, and get your spicing juniper berries from reputable food stores, rather than harvesting your backyard trees that may look like the right kind.

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Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: dive-angel (Karin), Delphine Menard/CC 2.0Jasmine&Roses, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., TMR Davies, W.D. Williams

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