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A low, spreading shrub of sturdy habit, 11⁄2 to 2 ft high, densely furnished with stiff branchlets which turn upwards at the ends. Leaves 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. long, always awl-shaped and in threes, ending in a sharp, stiff point, concave on the upper surface and glaucous, but with a distinct green midrib and margins, lower surface blue-green, speckled with white, with a groove near the base, and with two white marks at the base from which two glaucous lines run down a ridge which is really the lower part of the leaf adherent to the stem. Fruits not seen on cultivated plants but said to be about 3⁄16 in. across, with two to three seeds.
A native of Japanese gardens and apparently little known in the wild state, but said by Ohwi (Flora of Japan, 1965) to occur wild on the coasts of Kyushu. It was named by Siebold in 1844 and introduced by him, but the name was first validly published by Miquel in 1870, in the posthumous part of Siebold and Zuccarini’s Flora Japonica. Siebold listed this species in his 1856 catalogue but it seems to have been uncommon in European gardens until Japanese nurserymen began to export it around the turn of the century.
There was a fine example of this juniper in the Vicarage Garden at Bitton, 4 or 5 yards across and about 18 in. high. No dwarf juniper is handsomer than this, or makes a more striking low, dense covering for the ground. It never appears to have borne fruit in cultivation, but strikes root readily from cuttings.