Juniperus californica Woodland Alliance
California juniper woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation600-2450 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: AZ, CA, NV (USDA Plants). Baja California, Mexico (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Juniperus californica is dominant or co-dominant in the small tree canopy with Pinus monophylla, Pinus quadrifolia, Quercus cornelius-mulleri, Quercus douglasii and Yucca brevifolia. Shrubs may include Agave deserti, Artemisia tridentata, Coleogyne ramosissima, Ephedra spp., Hesperoyucca whipplei, Lepidospartum squamatum, Nolina parryi, Purshia stansburiana or Yucca schidigera.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 5 m; canopy is open to intermittent. Shrub layer is open to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is sparse or grassy.

Membership Rules

  • Juniperus californica > 1% absolute cover, as a dominant shrub; Pinus monophylla < 1% cover (Thomas et al. 2004).
  • Juniperus californica > 3% cover over lower shrubs (Keeler-Wolf et al. 1998b).
  • Juniperus californica > 50% relative cover in shrub layer (Evens et al. 2006, Klein et al. 2007).
  • Juniperus californica as short tree (or large shrub) layer with > 1% and no other tree species equal or exceeding cover of J. californica (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2005).


Ridges, slopes, valleys, alluvial fans, and valley bottoms. Soils are porous, rocky, coarse, sandy, or silty, and are often very shallow.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) California juniper series
NVCS (2009) Juniperus californica woodland alliance
Calveg California juniper (shrub), California juniper (tree)
Holland Mojavean juniper woodland and scrub, Peninsular juniper woodland and scrub, Cismontane juniper woodland and scrub
Munz Pinyon-juniper woodland
WHR Juniper
CDFW CA Code 89.100.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Warm Temperate Forest
Division Madrean Forest and Woodland
Macro Group California Forest and Woodland
Group Californian evergreen coniferous forest and woodland