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A tree up to 60 ft high or a shrub; young shoots terete. Leaves of two types that are nearly always found on the same tree, viz., juvenile awl-shaped ones, and small, scale-like, adult ones. The former are 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, sharply and stiffly pointed, arranged either in threes or oppositely in pairs, with two glaucous lines on the upper surface, green elsewhere. Scale-like leaves usually in pairs, rarely in threes, closely flattened to the branchlet, 1⁄16 in. long, blunt at the apex. The plants are usually unisexual, and the male flowers, very freely borne in early spring, are yellow and pretty. Fruits about 1⁄4 in. in diameter, roundish or rather top-shaped, whitish with bloom when ripe; seeds two or three, occasionally more.
Native of Japan, Mongolia, and China; introduced to Kew in 1804 by W. Kerr. This juniper and J. virginiana are the commonest of tree-like junipers in gardens. It is perfectly hardy. From J. virginiana it differs in its blunt, scale-like leaves, and in the awl-shaped ones being frequently in whorls of threes. As a rule both juvenile and adult leaves occur on the same tree, but occasionally specimens of good age have nothing but juvenile foliage. There are male trees at Kew which bear flowers in the axils of leaves of the awl-shaped, juvenile type. Although J. chinensis is commonly dioecious, plants with flowers of both sexes occasionally occur.
Van Melle’s controversial treatment of J. chinensis is set out in his book Review of Juniperus chinensis et al., published by the New York Botanical Garden in 1947.
A. F. Mitchell has found that few trees survive of those that were mentioned by Elwes and Henry early this century or even of those listed in the returns to the R.H.S. Conifer Conference of 1933. The largest existing specimens are mostly of poor habit and 50 to 60 ft in height and 31⁄2 to 6 ft in girth.
specimens: Nymans, Sussex, 58 × 41⁄4 ft and 54 × 41⁄2 ft (1983); Bedgebury House, Kent, 68 × 83⁄4 ft at 3 ft (1983); Barrington House, Essex, 62 × 53⁄4 ft (1983); Bowood, Wilts., 62 × 51⁄2 ft (1984); Westonbirt, Glos., 68 × 51⁄4 ft (1980); Highnam Pinetum, Glos., 69 × 63⁄4 ft (1984); Eastnor Castle, Heref., 66 × 4 ft (1984); Bicton, Devon, 62 × 53⁄4 ft (1977); Castlehill, Devon, 59 × 6 ft (1983); Stonefield, Argyll, 41 × 5 ft (1981); Denira House, Perths., 56 × 61⁄4 ft (1981); Monteviot, Roxb., 52 × 51⁄4 ft (1983); Caledon, Co. Tyrone, 60 × 61⁄4 ft and 62 × 71⁄2 ft (1983).
† ‘Blue Point’. – Of narrowly conical habit, with blue-grey foliage, which is mostly juvenile on young plants, becoming scale-like with age. Raised in the USA.
’Japonica’. – This cultivar does not remain dwarf, as stated. In time it throws up branches and becomes a small tree, with an increasing amount of adult foliage (H. Welch, Manual of Dwarf Conifers, pp. 204-6). Welch considers that the cultivar named ‘Kaizuka Variegated’ in the USA is a variegated form of ‘Japonica’ (op. cit. p. 206).
† ‘San José’. – Of procumbent habit, with grey-green foliage, which is wholly juvenile at first, mixed later. The foliage is soft, not prickly as in ‘Japonica’. Raised by W. B. Clarke in California.
Van Melle’s work was mentioned on page 480, second paragraph, and under ‘Pfitzeriana’ on page 481. Resin analysis tends to confirm his hypothesis that ‘Pfitzeriana’ is the result of hybridisation between J. chinensis and J. sabina, though the first-named parent was considered by him to be J. sphaerica, usually included in J. chinensis. His name for this hybrid – J. × media – is now fairly widely accepted, and it is in any case convenient to keep the cultivars concerned under a separate heading. The following are the most important members of the group:
† ‘Armstrongii’. – A sport of ‘Pfitzeriana’, lower and more compact in growth.
† ‘Gold Coast’. – This is very similar to ‘Old Gold’ and of equal merit, but slightly more compact in growth. Raised in the USA.
’Hetzii’. – This is more erect in growth than ‘Pfitzeriana’, eventually becoming a very large shrub, and with grey foliage.
† ‘Kuriwao Gold’. – Leaves light green with a golden midrib. Branches ascending, forming a fairly dense, roundish mound to about 5 ft high and 3 ft wide. Raised in New Zealand. In the Boskoop Trial ‘Old Gold’ was considered superior to this.
’Old Gold’. – Mentioned briefly under ‘Pfitzeriana’, this is a dense shrub under 3 ft high, more in width, all the foliage golden in summer, bronze-yellow in winter. Raised in Holland.
† ‘Mint Julep’. – A dense shrub to about 6 ft high, slightly more in width, with bright green foliage. A recent introduction from the USA. In the report on the Boskoop trials (Dendroflora, loc. cit.), Mr Van Gelderen remarks that it is very near to J. sabina.
’Pfitzeriana’. – See page 481. It should be noted that the spelling used is correct, not ‘Pfitzerana’.
’Pfitzeriana Aurea’. – Of slightly flatter growth than in ‘Pfitzeriana’, the foliage yellow in summer, greening somewhat in winter.
’Pfitzeriana Compacta’. – A wide-spreading, flat-topped shrub to about 3 ft high. Raised in the USA. The Dutch-raised ‘Mathot’ is reported to be almost identical.
† ‘Ramlösa’. – Branches almost horizontal, wide-spreading. Raised by Holger Jensen’s Ramlösa nursery, Sweden (Dendroflora, loc. cit., p. 22).
’Plumosa’. – See page 481. This is the original of a subgroup of Van Melle’s J. × media, to which ‘Blaauw’ also belongs.
’Plumosa Aurea’. – Mentioned under ‘Plumosa’, this is an old inhabitant of gardens, once in the trade as J. chinensis japonica aurea. It is of spreading habit, to about 6 ft high, more in width, its foliage golden when young, bronzing in winter. For the complicated synonymy, see Welch, Manual of Dwarf Conifers, p. 231.
J. davurica – Pallas spelt the specific epithet ‘dauurica’, which correctly should be amended to davurica and not ‘dahurica’, the spelling used in the main work and in the Flora of the Soviet Union.
J. sargentii (Henry) Takeda
J. procumbens Sarg., not Sieb