Flora Friday

Scattered throughout the mid and upper elevations of Red Rock Canyon, you can find Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) trees adding greenery to the landscape. These trees grow much wider than they do tall and feature scale-like leaves. Some even feature blue fruits that look like berries; in reality these fruits are cones and have a hard inner-scales under the outer flesh. Utah junipers provide shade and habitat for a variety of wildlife & plant species. Occasionally you will see clumps of parasitic mistletoe that grows on branches stealing water and nutrients from the tree. The bark was valued as it is fairly decay-resistant and made for a good material for fences and bows. The twigs and berries often were used in teas to help relieve cold and cough symptoms. Look for junipers along many of the canyons and dotting the hills of mountains.

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