Pencil Cedar
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Pencil Cedar
E Native Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Pencil Cedar
Botanical name: Juniperus excelsa subsp. polycarpos    Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress family)
Synonyms: Juniperus macropoda, Juniperus polycarpos

Pencil Cedar is a monoecious medium sized tree. Leaves on upper branches are scale‑like, opposite, decussate, 1.5‑2 mm long, broadly ovate, closely appressed, on the lower branches subulate, 6‑8 mm long, pungent. Male cones are borne at branch-ends on branchlets, scales overlapping. Berries are nearly spherical, blue‑black when ripe,about 1 cm across. Seeds are 3‑5, brownish‑yellow, testa thick. Wood is most valuable for furniture, building and pencil-making; also used for fuel and charcoal. Pencil Cedar is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Uttarakhand, at altitudes of 2400-4300 m. It is mostly found in dry river valleys, gregarious; forming open forests in Lahaul.

Identification credit: Gaurav Verma Photographed in Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh.

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