The Juniper tree
Lazzab, the Arabic name for juniper, is an evergreen coniferous tree of the cypress family Cupressaceae. The most common juniper species in Lebanon are the Juniperus excelsa (Greek Juniper) and the Juniperus foetidissima (Fetid Juniper).
The juniper is one of the most important forest species in Lebanon. It is a very sturdy tree that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Juniper trees are widespread on the eastern and western slopes of northern Mount Lebanon and, to a lesser extent, on the western slopes of the Anti-Lebanon Range, at altitudes above 1,400m. The juniper is also common in the mountain region of Dannieh.
Like most conifers, the juniper tree is an important emitter of oxygen with about 50 tons per tree per year. In the process, junipers will absorb large quantities of other harmful gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and will facilitate groundwater recharge thanks to their extensive root system.
Characteristics and features:
- Reaches up to 20m in height.
- Lives up to a thousand years if protected.
- Grows at altitudes between 1,400 and 2,800 m.
- Junipers propagate very slowly and with difficulty. Juniper seeds will only germinate if they pass through the digestive system of certain birds - the seeds are scarified in the digestive system of birds and released with a fertile mixture.
- Junipers secrete resin from their trunks and branches. The resin has medicinal properties and can be used, for example, in expanding cardiac arteries. it can also be used in the treatment of some livestock diseases. Bees feed on the glue to produce excellent honey.
Save our junipers
In Lebanon, juniper trees are currently threatened by illegal felling and overgrazing. They must be protected since they constitute the highest arboreal vegetation on the Lebanese mountains, growing at higher elevations than the cedar. Their loss will accelerate the impacts of climate change on Lebanese ecosystems.
In the 2ndCentury AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian Augustus (117-138) initiated inscriptions on rocks located in the mountains of Lebanon to delineate the boundary of the forest of the Emperor and to ban the felling of four species of trees including the juniper.