Merry berry

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild November -

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.

FIND OUT MORE

Learn more about ju­niper con­ser­va­tion: plantlife.org.uk

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