Savin juniper

(Juniperus sabina)



The savin juniper, also just savin, is found from North Africa to Central Europe all the way to Central Asia. In Ötztal it prefers growing on south-facing, warm rock slopes such as on Engelswand or at Längenfeld. Apart from vegetated bedrocks, the savin juniper is also found in dry grasslands. As an ornamental shrub, it is planted in gardens, parks and in cemeteries.



The savin juniper, which requires light, mostly grows shrub-shaped up to 2 m high. Tree -shaped specimens reach up to 12 m. The foliage leaves of young savin junipers are needle-shaped, fully-grown plants have scale-leaves. The unremarkable flowers are whitish, and sit on the tips of the branches. From them grow blue-black, pea-sized berry cones.


Special features

The savin juniper is highly poisonous! In particular the tips of the branches contain essential oils with a sharp-spicy fragrance and the highly poisonous, chemical compound “sabinene”. Getting into contact with the oil can lead to skin disorders and blistering. In ancient times, the tree was used as an aborticide.



In Austria, the savin juniper is quite rare, in the Tyrolean Oberland it is considerably more common. According to the Tyrolean Conservation Act, it is partly protected



Farjon, Aljos (2005): A monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Hugentobler, Oskar (1999): Juniperus sabina L. (Cupressaceae) unter spezieller Berücksichtigung der Vorkommen in Schams und Val Ferrera (GR). Schweizerische Beiträge zur Dendrologie, Volume 45.Schweizerische Dendrologische Gesellschaft (SDG).

[Translate to en:] Sadebaum (Juniperus sabina) ©Roland Mayer - Naturpark Ötztal