Nature’s Notebook

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Photo for species Juniperus_ashei

Ashe's juniper was named in honor or William Willard Ashe (1872-1932) who was a pioneer forester of the U.S. Forest Service and collected a specimen of this plant in Arkansas. The wood of Juniperus ashei is often used for fence posts due to its durability and resistance to rot. The peeling strips of bark from Ashe's juniper are used by birds for nesting material, most notably the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. This plant is known colloquially as “cedar” throughout much of its range and is a source of agony for many allergy-sufferers when its pollen is released during the winter months.

Photo Credit:
© Estelle Levetin, University of Tulsa

Juniperus ashei

Ashe's juniper
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

Ashe's juniper is an evergreen, conifer tree growing 33 to 40 feet tall. Male and female cones occur on separate trees. Its male cones are small, yellow, and inconspicuous, and bear pollen. Its female cones are small, berry-like, and wind- pollinated, and mature in one year.

Ashe's juniper is typically found on soils that have been derived from limestone. It is common in lower elevation oak-cedar savannas and prairie margins. It is a highly drought-tolerant plant.

Why observe this species?

Ashe's juniper is a USA-NPN regional plant species. Regional species are ecologically or economically important and are distributed more locally than calibration species. The USA-NPN integrates these observations to better understand plant responses within the different geographic regions of the nation. In addition, this species is an allergen. Observations on its phenology will provide valuable information to benefit people with allergies and the public health community. 

The Juniper Pollen Project is interested in obtaining phenology data for this species. Please consider contributing to this special study on the timing of pollen release and its effects on human health. You can learn more at Juniper Pollen Project.

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
AR, MO, OK, TX
Which phenophases should I observe?
Pollen cones

Do you see...?

Pollen cones Image of Pollen cones
One or more fresh, male pollen cones (strobili) are visible on the plant. Cones have overlapping scales that are initially tightly closed, then spread apart to open the cone and release pollen. Include cones that are unopened or open, but do not include wilted or dried cones that have already released all of their pollen.

How many fresh pollen cones are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Open pollen cones Image of Open pollen cones
One or more open, fresh, male pollen cones (strobili) are visible on the plant. Cones are considered "open" when the scales have spread apart to release pollen. Do not include wilted or dried cones that have already released all of their pollen.

What percentage of all fresh pollen cones (unopened plus open) on the plant are open?

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

Pollen release
One or more male cones (strobili) on the plant release visible pollen grains when gently shaken or blown into your palm or onto a dark surface.

How much pollen is released?

Little: Only a few grains are released.;Some: Many grains are released.;Lots: A layer of pollen covers your palm, or a cloud of pollen can be seen in the air when the wind blows

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Seed cones

Do you see...?

Unripe seed cones
One or more unripe, female seed cones are visible on the plant. For Juniperus ashei, an unripe seed cone is berry-like and green, turning pinkish, often covered with a whitish film that rubs off'

How many seed cones are unripe?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Ripe seed cones Image of Ripe seed cones
One or more ripe, female seed cones are visible on the plant. For Juniperus ashei, a berry-like seed cone is considered ripe when it has turned dark blue or purple, often covered with a whitish film that rubs off'

How many seed cones are ripe?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Recent cone or seed drop
One or more seed cones or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include empty seed cones that had long ago dropped all of their seeds but remained on the plant.

How many seed cones have dropped seeds or have completely dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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