Author Topic: 2 Questions I'm curious about  (Read 3492 times)

Yenling83

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2 Questions I'm curious about
« on: September 19, 2011, 08:46 PM »
1. Does anyone know the Scientific name of what we refer to as Western Juniper? 
-This is different than Sierra Juniper which i'm asking about in question two.  It's a bit confusing because books often refer to Sierra Juniper as Western Juniper.  But in the Bonsai community we call it Western.   

2. Does anyone know the difference between the two types of Sierra Junipers?
-It seems to me that Juniperus occidentalis  has more of a blue tint to it compared with Juniperus occidentalis australis which seems more green to me.  Other than that they look very similar.  I know Occidentalis Australis is found south of Occidentalis and there is a cut off point in California.     

 
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 08:55 PM »
Quote
Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis Western Juniper.

Juniperus occidentalis var. australis Sierra Juniper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_juniper
 

Yenling83

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 11:55 PM »
John

I read it but am still confused.  So is this saying that what we call Western Juniper is actually Juniperus occidentalis  and what we call Sierra Juniper is actually Juniperus occidentalis var. australis?  I don't think i'm correct here. 
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 07:29 AM »
That's how I read it. Perhaps John Kirby will chime in here. I think he has a pretty good understanding of western/Sierra.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 08:47 AM »
Here's another one that should thoroughly confuse you:

Quote
Juniperus occidentalis var. australis[/i] Sierra western juniper

Juniperus occidentalis var. occidentalis Oregon western juniper

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=JUOC
 

Yenling83

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 05:40 PM »

I know that ultimately this is kind of a silly question.  In Bonsai we are not so concerned with scientific names and we are not botanists, it's just a questions I have asked myself and am now really curious. 

What we can Western and Sierra juniper in the bonsai community seem pretty radically different to me.  You can tell them apart with a quick glance.  However I think there are two types of Sierra's with subtle differences.  guess i'm still confused...     
 

plantmanky

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 06:52 PM »
Ahhhh the problems with common names are now apparent aren't they! 

There are 2 tree species of junipers common to California  J. occidentalis, J. occidentalis subsp. australis and J. californica.  What you are referring to as Western or Sierra Juniper is J. occidentalis and J. occidentalis subsp. australis.  The differences between the two are genetic in nature along with the ecological niche's that they inhabit.  Just for giggles, here's the list of common names associated with J. occidentalis (western Juniper, Sierra Juniper, Yellow juniper and western Red cedar).

The differences between J occidentalis and J. occidentalis subsp australis is one of significance only to botanists.  Currently the Genetic markers  nrDNA and trnC-trn-D sequences are being questioned.  Other work in the cupressaceae family show that other genetic markers may shift the body of taxonomic work being done.

There is a color difference between J. occidentalis and J. californica along with the size of the tree at maturity.  Color differences can also be the result of soil chemistry.  For most bonsai nuts, Western Juniper is more than sufficient. 
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 08:26 PM »
It's my understanding that a lot of the junipers in the western US tend to hybridize with each other.  Could that account for some of the variation?
 

Yenling83

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 09:00 PM »
 
John

Yes, I know they do hybridize which I think is pretty cool and maybe that could be what is going on here.  But, I think what Bonsai folk call Western and Sierra are two different junipers.  I don't think the juniper you just posted that you got from the BIB auction is J. occidentalis.  But i'm not too familiar with native junipers in Idaho. From what I have read,   J. occidentalis and J. occidentalis subsp. australis are only very slightly different.  The differences between what the bonsai community calls Western and Sierra is too great-different foliage, growth habits, bark and everything.  I have all three on my benches outside and they look differnt to me.  I need to do more searching about Idaho natives. 

 
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 09:09 PM »
Well, mine are certainly what the bonsai folks are calling Western, as they're the same as every "bonsai Western" I've ever seen.  I'll see if I can't take one down to the county extension office to see if they can positively ID for me.  I don't have any of the blue Sierra (or whatever it may turn out to be) so I can't have any of the local scientific types compare for me.

Do keep us posted on what you find out.
 


John Kirby

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2011, 10:52 AM »
The concept of subspecies is an artificial construct, as can be the general concept of species when applied to plants that can be found over a great range and sets of environmental conditions. The Western/Utah/Rocky Mountain junipers (among others) cover great ranges in western north america and frequently hybridize to produce what appear to be fecund progeny. The absence of reproductive isolation in sympatric populations raises a lot of interesting questions, none of which are really relevant to bonsai. The Terry Paper that Plant Manky mentioned in the American Journal of Botany in 2000 suggests that interspecies hybridization occurs between Utah Junipers and RMJ's based on a single polymorphism in chloroplast sequence and in Nuclear Ribosomal sequence. This is a very limited study based on only a few kbs of sequence, but provides some insight. I went and did a request on Juniper sequences from NCBI and got limited results, hopefully one of the labs out west will take advantage of the huge amount of next generation sequencing capacity that is available and try to get reasonable genome wide coverage on several isolated groups of the western juniper supergroup and for more informative analysis. Our genome analysis lab at work is in the process of purchasing a radically high throughput sequencer (to complement the traditional capillary sequencer that we have from ABI) from PacBio Systems, however we have no one working on the Juniper clades, but who knows what will happen down the road.

Back to bonsai, Boon has Westerns (oocidentalis) and Sierra's (occidentalis), some of the green ones were more bluish and some of the bluish ones have been green,  however the truly deep blue ones have not reverted at any time to my knowledge. It is the joy of western US Junipers.

John
 

Yenling83

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Re: 2 Questions I'm curious about
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2011, 01:01 PM »
Very interesting to everything.  I had to look up several words in Kirby's response and may not understand 100% of it, however I feel like I got the gist of it all.  I guess if there were more great botanists who were into native juniper bonsai and more John Kirby's in the U.S. then we would have a lot more answers to these questions.  Plantmanky thanks for the links, I'd like to learn as much as possible about native junipers esp Western/Sierra.  I really appreciate it JohnX2 and Plantmanky.