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Trees (Native British)

54 55 The Juniper is one of Britains native conifers and occurs naturally in the south on chalk downs and in Beech woodland. Further north it grows on limestone moorland whilst in Scotland it flourishes on the acid soils of the Pine forests. Often considered a shrub, it has a conical crown when young growing more uneven with age. Distinguished by its red woody stems, darkhued needle leaves and the blueblack berries that it bears, it can grow to forty feet tall although it will only do so very slowly. The trees can be very long lived. The famous berries are in fact cones, taking two years to mature, and are used for seasoning food and, of course, flavouring gin. Both the bark and berries can be used medicinally as a tonic and nerve stimulant. Dry Juniper wood was used for secret fires for illegal stills producing illicit spirits in the Highlands as it produces very little smoke and was traditionally burnt on Halloween to ward off evil. jUNIpER Juniperis communis
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