Juniper, Cade tree (Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. oxycedrus)
This bush can reach a tree size (up to 15 m high), with a rounded canopy and a thick trunk with a brown and cracked bark. The leaves are set in grouped or whorls of three, they are elongated and sharp (like small aciculate leaves of up to 2.5 cm long). In the beam, it exhibits two very characteristic white stripes (stomal stripes) clearly separated on the upper tip. Male specimens form very small cones producing pollen whereas the females produce flakey, fleshy and rounded fruits called galbulus (0.8 to 1.2 cm diameter). They have a cover looking like a fine dust or wax called bloom and they are greenish turning to brown-reddish tones when ripe.
WHERE DOES IT LIVE?
This species is very common in Mediterranean ecosystems; it is associated to the holm oak as an accompanying or substitution species in degraded holm oaks forests. It grows in dry and rocky grounds, from sea level to 1000 meters above sea level. It withstands droughts very well. It is indifferent to the substrate type, being able to appear in calcareous areas as well as in schistosas or sandy regions and even on dunes or sandbanks.
HOW DOES IT LIVE?
It is a dioecious species (there are male and female specimens). Male cones appear in the leaves armpits, they are rounded and of a yellow colour and they are charged to produce pollen. Females are not very showy and are formed by three scales interlaced with each other like a roof. They last two years to produce the galbulus. Flowering occurs in spring and autumn and fruiting at the end of summer and autumn. The pollination is anemophil (caused by the wind); like the seeds dispersion. Its fruits are little appetizing for the fauna.
WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN THE MALAGA PROVINCE?
It is a very common species in the Malaga province, dispersed all over the region. There are large populations in the coastal mountains ranges and in the North-eastern region. On the Great Path, it can be detected on stages 11 to 14 and 32 to 34.
In the Ronda mountain range, its strains and roots are used to make cookware (some bowls, spoons and forks) as the aromatic effect of its wood provides a nice taste to food. Gin is obtained from the distillation process of its fruits, whose name derives from the word "juniper". But the most important thing is that its wood when baked in ovens produces a resin based on its essential oil or cade. This resin has been traditionally used to cure diverse cattle diseases as it is an excellent antiparasitic. Moreover, the juniper pitch or tar (the cade once baked in oven) was used to waterproof shepherd's huts and caulk the boats. These ovens were common buildings in the Malaga mountains range.
Which species can it be mistaken with?
It can be confused with other juniper species. The main difference lies in the number of stomal stripes present in its leaves. In the cade juniper, there are only two. The mountain juniper has one and the maritime juniper two. The size of the fruit is also a differentiating character, as in this case it is smaller.
Routes where it can be observed
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 10. Riogordo - Alfarnate
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 11. Alfarnate - Villanueva del Rosario
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 12. Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 13. Archidona - Villanueva de Tapia
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 14. Villanueva de Tapia - Villanueva de Algaidas
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 33. Mijas - Benalmádena
- Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 34. Benalmádena - Alhaurín de la Torre