Jul. 2, 2021

creeping juniper, Juniperus horizontalis

Creeping juniper is a fascinating shrub. It's common on the shores of the upper Great Lakes, spreading creepily across the sand. It's branches can be twenty feet long, but rarely more than a foot off the ground. Seen here are the tiny female cones, only about 1/16 inch across. These particular ones are probably unfertilized and dried in late June. The Blackfoot used creeping juniper for a variety of ceremonial and mystical ways. For example, a sun dancer would hold a branch in one hand, the wing of a owl in the other, and might be dancing on a carpet of juniper. The Cheyenne and Ojibwa more often ate the berries, or used the flexible twigs to weave or for items like papoose boards. Creeping juniper grows in AK, CT, IA(T), IL(E), MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH(E), NY(E), RI, SD, VT(T), WI, WY, across Canada, and on SPM. Mackinac Co MI, 6/18/21. Cypress family, Cupressaceae.