Appearance''Juniperus excelsa'' is a large shrub or tree reaching 6–20 metres tall ). It has a trunk up to 2 metres in diameter, and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8–10 mm long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.6–3 mm long on older plants.
It is largely dioecious with separate male and female plants, but some individual plants produce both sexes. The cones are berry-like, 6–11 mm in diameter, blue-black with a whitish waxy bloom, and contain 3-6 seeds; they are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 3–4 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring.
It often occurs together with ''Juniperus foetidissima'', being distinguished from it by its slenderer shoots 0.7-1.3 mm diameter , and grey-green, rather than mid green, leaves.
The Algum wood mentioned in the Bible may be from this species, but is not definitely so.
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