Juniperus procera Endl. CUPRESSACEAE.


Names: Pencil Cedar (Standard name); Mutarakwa (Kikuyu).

Description: Tree to 40m; crown pyramidal in youth, later spreading; bark pale brown, cracking and peeling in long narrow strips. Juvenile leaves in 3's, linear, spine-tipped, to 12 by 1mm; adult branchlets with opposite scale leaves, very closely set, acute at apex, less than 1mm long. Cones dioecous; male cones yellowish, ellipsoid, 2-3mm long, with about 10 scales; female cones red-brown, subglobose, with about 6-8 scales. Ripe fruit waxy blue-grey, berry-like, globose, to 8mm across, with 1-4 seeds.

Occurence: Drier upland forests, associated with Podo, Olive and Croton or forming pure stands, between 1800-2950m; also as scattered individuals on rocky hills or mountains, on shallow rocky soils or ridge crests.

Use: Heartwood reddish-brown and heavy, splintering easily but durable and highly resistant to termites. An important timber tree, used for building houses, for poles, for furniture, joinery, roofing shingles; bark used for beehives.