The current craze for artisan gin has, ironically, coincided with a decline in the wild plant whose ‘berries’ (actually fleshy cones) provide the flavour. Juniper is among the most ancient trees in the British Isles, having colonised quickly after the end of the last ice age. It is one of just three native British conifers, the others being yew and Scots pine. In recent decades, juniper has fallen victim of overgrazing by sheep, deer and rabbits, which strip out seedlings. Conservation projects are underway in its two strongholds: uplands in the north, and chalk downs in the south.
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Learn more about juniper conservation: plantlife.org.uk