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Juniperus (family Cupressaceae) A genus of evergreen conifers containing trees and shrubs with needle-like (often juvenile) or scale-like leaves. The plants are monoecious or dioecious, female cones having 3–8 fleshy scales which coalesce to resemble berries, containing 1 to many hard seeds. There are about 50 species native to the northern hemisphere, mountains of Africa, or the West Indies. Several are cultivated for timber used for pencils or furniture, like J. virginiana, the pencil cedar or red cedar of eastern N. America; its fragrant wood repels insects and is used for chests or panelling. The aromatic fruits of J. communis are used to flavour gin, and many cultivars of this species are popular ornamental plants.