by Stephen Mifsud
   10 Dec 2023      ()
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Juniperus phoenicea   (Phoenician Juniper)

Juniperus phoenicea  (CUPRESSACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Juniperus phoenicea - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 10-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Juniperus phoeniceaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 1040 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Juniperus terminalis Salisb.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Cupressaceae Barlett (The Cypress Family)
5 species from the Cupressaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Phoenician Juniper

Maltese name(s) :

Ġnibru, Ġniepru

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule II of [S.L. 549.123] (Trees protected in selected areas)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

All year

Colour of Flowers:



Mildy toxic, can cause adverse conditions if consumed in large quantities

Name Derivation :

Juniperus: a very old Latin name which is related with binding (same for Juncus), for the gum of the trees used as a cement and binding paste. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Maquis and forest margins, especially near the coast
Preferred habitat in Malta: Sides of maquis, cultivated for ornament
Botanical Description: Monoecious small tree up to 8 m, or shrub (procumbent on seashores). Twigs 1 mm wide, terete, scaly. Juvenile leaves 5-14 x 0.5-1 mm, acicular, patent, acute, mucronate, with 2 stomatal bands above and beneath; adult leaves 0.7-1 mm, scale-like, ovate-rhombic, closely appressed, obtuse to somewhat acute, with an oblong, furrowed gland on the back, and a distinct scarious border. Female cone 8-14 mm, ripening in the second year, globose to ovoid, blackish when very young, later green or yellowish and not or slightly pruinose, dark red when ripe. Seeds 3-9, free.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region and Portugal

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Balaeric Islands, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
? AE(G) Ag Al BH Bl(I M N) Ca(C G H P T) Cg Co Cr Ct Cy Eg Ga(F) Gr Hs(A S) Ir It Jo Li Lu Ma Md(M P) Mk Sa Si(S) Sn Tn Tu(A) -Uk(K)

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (8 images)
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-0.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-1.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-2.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-3.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-4.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-5.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-6.
   Juniperus phoenicea   -   Image Code: JNPPH-7.

Buy Seeds and Docs
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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