Juniperus osteosperma Forest & Woodland Alliance
Utah juniper woodland and forest

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation1100-2100 m
  • State RarityS3.2
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionUSA: AZ, CA, CO, ID, NV, UT, WY (NatureServe)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Juniperus osteosperma is dominant in the tree or tall shrub canopy with Pinus monophylla and Yucca brevifolia. Shrubs may include Ambrosia dumosa, Artemisia tridentata, Atriplex confertifolia, Coleogyne ramosissima, Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, Ephedra spp., Ericameria linearifolia, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Grayia spinosa, Gutierrezia microcephala, Purshia tridentata, Salvia dorrii, Tetradymia axillaris or Yucca baccata.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 15 m; canopy is open to continuous. Shrubs < 2 m; canopy is open to continuous. Herbaceous layer is sparse or grassy.

Membership Rules

  • Juniperus osteosperma > 1% absolute cover, and Pinus monophylla or Yucca brevifolia < 1% absolute cover over a shrub canopy that may have higher cover than do the trees (Thomas et al. 2004).
  • Juniperus osteosperma > 50% relative cover (Evens et al. 2014).


Pediments, slopes, ridges, ravines. Soils are rocky or alluvial, are commonly well drained, and may be calcareous.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Utah juniper series
NVCS (2009) Juniperus osteosperma wooded herbaceous alliance, Juniperus osteosperma wooded shrubland alliance
Calveg Utah juniper
Holland Great Basin juniper woodland and scrub, Mojavean juniper woodland and scrub
Munz Pinyon-juniper woodland
WHR Juniper, Pinyon-juniper
CDFW CA Code 89.300.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Cool Temperate Forest
Division North American Intermountain Basins Scrub Woodland
Macro Group Intermountain Basins Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
Group Western Great Basin montane conifer woodland