Herb: Creeping Juniper

Latin name: Juniperus horizontalis

Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Medicinal use of Creeping Juniper:

An infusion of the branches, or fleshy cones, has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers. The cones or branches can also be used as a steam bath. An infusion of the seeds has been used in the treatment of kidney problems.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry rocky soil, sterile pastures and fields.

Edible parts of Creeping Juniper:

The fruits are roasted and used in the preparation of a coffee-like beverage. A tea is made from the young branch tips.

Other uses of the herb:

A good ground cover plant for a sunny position, eventually making a dense cover though it requires weeding for the first year or so. The bark has been crushed and used as a soft hygienic pad in cradles. It has also been used to make mats. The young twigs and leaves have been burnt as an incense.

Propagation of Creeping Juniper:

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 the herb:

Dry rocky soil, sterile pastures and fields.

Known hazards of Juniperus horizontalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.