Coniferous Shrubs )
Cypress and Juniper Family (Cupressaceae)
Habitat: Montane to Subalpine
Height: Up to 1.5 m
Description: This low shrub is very common in the montane and lower subalpine. The woody branches tend to form an expansive carpet without any main stem. The sharp coniferous needles are shaped like an awl, tapering to a sharp tip. The upper surface of the needles have a bluish-white stripe down the centre. Each set of needles join the branches in whorls of three. The berry-like cones take several years to form. when they first form, they are green in colour. By the third year, they have darkened to a blue-black. Finally, in the fourth year, they become coated with a blue, waxy substance. They are used to flavour gin, and are a popular food source for many birds. The birds in turn deposit the seeds in distant locations through their droppings. The seeds actually benefit from the trip through the bird's digestive tracts.
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