- Family: Cypress Family – Cupressaceae
- Growing form and height: Dioecious, evergreen coniferous shrub or tree. 0.2–15 m (0.7–50 ft.), usually 0.5–6 m.
- Flower: Small, lacking perianth. Female and male flowers on different individuals. Female inflorescences yellowish-green, male flowers yellow. Borne in groups of three in the leaf axils.
- Leaves: Evergreen, stiff, sharp-pointed, flat, 0.5–2 cm (0.2–0.8 in.) long needles with relatively broad base, and glossy green lower surface, and bluish-green upper surface. Borne in whorls of three.
- Cone: Berry-like. Green when young, ripening to blue.
- Habitat: Dry or moist coniferous or mixed forests, broadleaf woods, rock outcrops, dry pastures, forest clearings, field and road margins, eutrophic fens, river and stream margins.
- Flowering time: May–June.
Conifers belong to the class Gymnospermae which is characterised by wind pollination, structurally simple flowers and seeds that are borne naked on the surface of the cone scales.
The genus Juniperus consists of 70–80 species occurring in the Northern hemisphere. Common juniper is a dioecious, slightly poisonous shrub or small tree which can become over 400 years old. Its growth habit varies greatly: it can be anything from a creeping dwarf shrub to a pillar-shaped dense-crowned tree.
In the north of Finland the subspecies nana dominates. It is low-growing, and has densely packed, curved needles. As a light-demanding species common juniper is often favoured by the activities of man. Especially in areas grazed by cattle beautiful juniper meadows have formed.
Common juniper is good for a variety of economic uses. Scented timber is used for making dishes and other utensils, the berries as seasoning and drugs.