Juniperus lutchuensis

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Juniperus lutchuensis
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
J. lutchuensis
Binomial name
Juniperus lutchuensis

Juniperus lutchuensis (Ryukyu Islands juniper; Japanese: オキナワハイネズ Okinawa-hainezu; syn. Juniperus taxifolia var. lutchuensis (Koidz.) Satake) is a species of juniper, native to the Ryukyu Islands, Izu Ōshima and the adjacent coast of Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan.[1][2]


'Juniperus lutchuensis is an evergreen coniferous shrub growing to a height of 1–3 m. The leaves are needle-like, in whorls of three, light green, 7–14 mm long and 1-1.5 mm broad, with a double white stomatal band (split by a green midrib) on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with separate male and female plants.

The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-brown; they are spherical, 8–9 mm diameter, and have three or six fused scales in one or two whorls of three; the three larger scales each bear 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, 5 mm long.[1]


Some authors[3] treat it as a synonym of Juniperus taxifolia from the Bonin Islands, while others treat it as a variety of it, Juniperus taxifolia var. lutchuensis.[2] It is probably best considered a separate species as it has a distinct DNA profile clearly different from J. taxifolia.[1]


Its conservation status is uncertain (Data Deficient) but it is rare and may become threatened.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d Adams, R. P. (2004). Junipers of the World. Trafford. ISBN 1-4120-4250-X
  2. ^ a b c Yasushi laboratory: Juniperus taxifolia var. lutchuensis[permanent dead link] (in Japanese; google translation)
  3. ^ Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4