Herb: Chinese Juniper

Latin name: Juniperus chinensis

Synonyms: Juniperus sheppardii, Juniperus sphaerica

Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Medicinal use of Chinese Juniper:

The stems are used in the treatment of parasitic skin problems and rheumatism. The fruit is used in the treatment of convulsions, excessive sweating and hepatitis. The root is used in the treatment of burns and scalds. The resin, mixed with the resin of Pinus species, is used as a resolvent on tumours.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Near seashores in C. and S. Japan.

Other uses of Chinese Juniper:

A number of cultivars are suitable for use as a ground cover, though they are rather slow-growing. They should be spaced about 90cm apart each way. "Parsonsii" can grow up to 2 metres across, with its branches horizontal to and about 5cm above the ground but never touching the ground.

Propagation of the herb:

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. The seed has a hard seedcoat and can be very slow to germinate, requiring a cold period followed by a warm period and then another cold spell, each of 2 - 3 months duration. Soaking the seed for 3 - 6 seconds in boiling water may speed up the germination process. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some might germinate in the following spring, though most will take another year. Another possibility is to harvest the seed "green" (when the embryo has fully formed but before the seedcoat has hardened). The seedlings can be potted up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on in pots until large enough, then plant out in early summer. When stored dry, the seed can remain viable for several years. Cuttings of mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September/October in a cold frame. Plant out in the following autumn. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.

Cultivation of Chinese Juniper:

Near seashores in C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Juniperus chinensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.