Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The smell of juniper bark lingers on

I love juniper trees. We used to call them cedar trees or mistakenly, salt cedars, when I was younger, but I long ago learned of the virtues of these hardy plants that grow where nothing else can live. Junipers are so common that they go unnoticed. Cattlemen in Arizona considered them to be weeds and spent huge sums of money running large Caterpillar tractors across the desert dragging a huge chain to knock them all down. The wood lasts so long that even though that practice was discontinued years and years ago, because it did not have the desired effect of increasing cattle yields, the dead trees are still there spread out for miles in the desert highlands. But like the forces of nature, juniper trees continue to grow and spread in areas whenever the rainfall increases slightly enough to support them. Oh, did I mention the smell of the wood and the bark? That smell becomes part of you and you then become part of the desert.


  1. I love to smell the scents of florwers and trees. But it's difficult to imagine the smell of the juniper trees. I'm trying to check on the Internet, but the wood is rare in Japan. So sad!

  2. I agree they smell wonderful -- I love seeing them in the canyons of Arizona. But what I love best about them is their eccentric growth pattern. Never straight up-and-down, these trees seem to be in motion, as if they were walking (incredibly slowly) across the landscape.

  3. Are these the same trees that produce juniper berries which are used to make gin?