AppearanceIt lives up to both its scientific and common names, reaching only 10–30 cm tall but often spreading several metres wide. The shoots are slender, 0.7–1.2 millimetres diameter. The leaves are arranged in opposite decussate pairs, or occasionally in whorls of three; the adult leaves are scale-like, 1–2 mm long and 1–1.5 millimetres broad.
The juvenile leaves are needle-like, 5–10 mm long. The cones are berry-like, globose to bilobed, 5–7 millimetres in diameter, dark blue with a pale blue-white waxy bloom, and contain two seeds ; they usually have a curved stem and are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 2–4 millimetres long, and shed their pollen in early spring. It is dioecious, producing cones of only one sex on each plant.
It is closely related to ''Juniperus virginiana'', and often hybridizes with it where their ranges meet in southern Canada. Hybrids with ''Juniperus scopulorum'' also occur.
UsesWell over 100 different cultivars have been selected for use as ornamental plants in gardens, their strictly prostrate growth habit being valued for ground cover. Popular examples include 'Bar Harbor', 'Blue Acres', 'Emerald Spreader', 'Green Acres', and 'Wiltonii' . Many of the most popular cultivars have strikingly glaucous foliage, while others are bright green, yellowish or variegated.
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