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Juniperus deppeana Steud.


Modern name

Juniperus deppeana Steud.

This species is represented in cultivation by the following variety:

var. pachyphlaea (Torr.) Martinez J. pachyphlaea Torr. Alligator Juniper. – A tree 50 to 60 ft high, with a very distinct bark that cracks up into curious small squares. Leaves of two kinds, awl-shaped and scale-like, with intermediate states; the former 18 to 14 in. long, very sharply pointed, mostly in threes, whitish on the upper side, glaucous beneath; the scale-like ones in pairs or in threes, closely flattened to the branchlet, 116 in. long, ovate, pointed, with the points incurved. Under a strongish lens minute teeth can be seen on the margin, and there is a resin-gland on the back. Fruits ripening the second year, globose or slightly longer than broad, 12 in. long, covered with blue bloom.

Native of dry mountain-sides in the south-western United States. It was introduced to Kew about 1873 but our climate is scarcely sunny and hot enough for it. Two trees in the National Pinetum at Bedgebury, planted in 1926, arc about 20 ft high and just under 1 ft in girth (1970). A tree at Kew did not thrive and died in 1958; it showed, however, the curious chequered bark which is the most distinctive feature of this juniper. It is very pretty in the silvery young growth of the juvenile form.

J. deppeana in its typical state is a native of Mexico, where it is widespread. It differs from the above variety in the absence of active resin-glands on the backs of the leaves.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

All but one of the specimens of var. pachyphlaea in the National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, are dead. This measures 23 × 114 ft (1978).



Other species in the genus