Any of about 60–70 species of aromatic evergreen trees or shrubs that make up the genus Juniperus of the cypress family, found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Juvenile leaves are needlelike; mature leaves are awl-shaped, spreading, and arranged in pairs or in whorls of three. Common juniper (J. communis) is a sprawling shrub whose fragrant, spicy-smelling berries are used to flavour foods and alcoholic beverages, particularly gin. The fragrant wood of eastern red cedar (J. virginiana) is made into cabinets, fence posts, and pencils. J. horizontalis is a popular U.S. ornamental creeping juniper, and wood of the Mediterranean Phoenician juniper (J. phoenicea) is burned as incense.
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