Juniperus squamata

Singleseed Juniper, Flaky Juniper




  • native to western China
  • zone 4
  • species not commonly cultivated

Habit and Form

  • evergreen shrub
  • habit is highly variable from an upright shrub to a prostrate dwarf
  • most commonly a low growing shrub
  • less than a foot to 25' tall
  • slow to moderate growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • needles are awl-like, with no scale-like leaves
  • closely pressed to stem and overlapping
  • arranged in whorls of 3
  • needles are curves and pointed
  • gray-green color
  • old needles persist on stem

Autumn Foliage

  • evergreen
  • needles have a bronze or purple cast during cold months


  • dioecious or monoecious
  • male flowers are yellow and female are green


  • elliptical cones
  • 0.25" to 0.33" in diameter
  • change from a reddish brown to almost black color when mature


  • reddish brown coloring
  • exfoliates in thin flakes, often quite dramatically
  • only a significant ornamental feature on old specimens with a large, upright form


  • easily transplanted
  • tolerant of most conditions
  • pH adaptable
  • not tolerant of high humidity and heat
  • full sun

Landscape Use

  • specimen, possibly
  • groundcover
  • screen
  • mass plantings
  • container
  • hedges
  • foundation plantings


  • susceptible to bagworm
  • held dead needles can be unattractive

ID Features

  • awl-shaped needles
  • blue needle color
  • branches erect even if low growing cultivar
  • needles found in whorls of 3
  • black mature fruits
  • needle tips pointed
  • dead needles persist
  • exfoliating, shredded red-brown bark


  • by cuttings for cultivars


'Blue Carpet' - This ground-hugging form develops into a dense carpet of silver-blue foliage. It reaches 1' tall and 4' wide and is a sport of 'Meyeri'.

'Blue Star' - A branch sport of 'Meyeri', this low rounded plant has increased in popularity over the past decade. It retains its bright blue foliage all year and forms a tight mound 3' tall and wide. The plant can also be trained as a standard to form a small tree, as seen below.

'Meyeri' - This is an old, common form which becomes a bushy, upright plant to 8' tall and narrower in width. The foliage is a bright blue, but the plant may discolor in winter and it retains unsightly dead needles with age. 'Golden Flash' and 'Gold Tip' are variegated sports with yellowish areas.

'Prostrata' - A slow-growing, ground-hugging plant, this selection grows under 1' tall and mounds in the center. The foliage is green with bluish bands on top.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.