Juniperus deppeana Cupressaceae
Alligator Juniper, Checkered-bark Juniper ju-NIP-er-us dep-e-A-na
- Conifer, evergreen tree, slowly grows to 20-40(65) ft [6-12(20) m] tall, dense, spreading canopy, becoming irregular with dead branches, some die only in a vertical strip and continue to grow on the other side; largest juniper in the US southwest. Trunk short, stout; bark on mature trees is blackish or gray, thick, checkered, furrowed and divided into scales resembling the back of an alligator. Leaves opposite, 1.5-3 mm long, scalelike, sharp pointed, appressed, bluish-green, obscurely keeled and glandular (white dot) on the back, in 4 rows, forming slender, 4-sided twigs. Fruit more or less spherical, about 12 mm wide, brownish with a whitish bloom, 3-5 seed, maturing in the second year.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7. Native range from western Texas to northwestern New Mexico and reaches its northern limit in north-central Arizona near Flagstaff, it extends southward into northern and central Mexico.