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Sharp Cedar Berries / Bobice smrike

Juniperus oxycedrus L.

Description:

It is a species of juniper that got its epithet lat. oxycedrus means "sharp cedar" and this species may have been the original cedar or cedrus of the ancient Greeks. This tree is very variable in shape, forming a spreading shrub 2–3 m tall to a small erect tree 10–15 m tall. It has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, 5–20 mm long and 1–2 mm broad, with a double white stomatal band (split by a green midrib) on the inner surface. It is usually dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to orange-red with a variable pink waxy coating; they are spherical, 7–12 mm diameter, and have three or six fused scales in 1-2 whorls, three of the scales with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The pollen cones are yellow, 2–3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in late winter or early spring.

Habitat:

It is native across the Mediterranean region from Morocco and Portugal, north to southern France, east to westernmost Iran, and south to Lebanon and Israel, growing on a variety of rocky sites from sea level up to 1600 m altitude.

Notes:

Cade oil is the essential oil obtained through destructive distillation of the wood of this shrub. It is a dark, aromatic oil with a strong smoky smell which is used in some cosmetics and (traditional) skin treatment drugs, as well as incense. Apart from that in Istria we are traditionally preparing a sort of non-alcoholic, probiotic drink made of this fermented berries, called just Smrikva or Pine Wine.

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injica
Spotted by
injica

Croatia

Spotted on Dec 25, 2011
Submitted on Apr 7, 2013

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