Juniperus recurva var coxii (A.B.Jacks.) Melville

Cupressaceae

A graceful weeping tree from SW China and the adjoining Himalayas. Large trees are now rare as its timber has been highly valued for coffins and furniture. Currently it is assessed as Near Threatened.

Associated Names:

Coffin Juniper

Description

Taxonomic Notes

Genetic analysis indicates that this variety could be recognised as a distinct species that may have some morphological similarities with J. recurva, but is more closely related to other Himalayan junipers (Adams 2014).

Distribution

Recorded from NW Yunnan, SE Xizang in China, as well as Bhutan, N Myanmar and from Sikkim in India. It may also occur in Arunachal Pradesh.

It may be locally common although older larger trees are rarer as their timber is valuable

Habitat and Ecology

In temperate montane evergreen rainforest, either coniferous forest, with Abies forrestii, A. densa, A. delavayi, Larix griffithii, L. potaninii, Picea spinulosa, P. likiangensis, Tsuga dumosa and Pinus wallichiana, or mixed forest, with e.g. Abies-Tsuga-Lauraceae-Fagaceae, often with an understorey of Rhododendron spp. The altitudinal range is 2,400-3,800 m a.s.l. In these forest types the juniper usually occupies rocky slopes or gullies, or disturbed and degraded sites where the canopy has been opened substantially due to felling and grazing.

Human Uses

Due to its drooping habit, it is highly valued as an ornamental tree and often planted in regions of Europe that have a mild, moist climate. In its natural range large trees were formerly exploited for coffin construction

Conservation Status

Global Status and Rationale

Near Threatened (VU A2cd)

Despite being previously listed as Vulnerbale (CSG 1998) there is insufficient evidence to assume an overall reduction greater than 30%. In certain areas, e.g. NW Yunnan, deforestation has led to a reduction in area of occupancy, but elsewhere the forest is still intact. As such, it is more appropriate to list this taxon as Near Threatened (it almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criterion A2cd).

Global Threats

Due to deforestation and logging in many areas of SW China that infringes on the forests in which J. recurva var. coxii occurs, its area of occupancy (AOO) has been reduced substantially and this form is now difficult to find in many areas of NW Yunnan

Conservation Actions

This variety occurs in a number of protected areas.