The common Juniper, is a species in the genus Juniperus, in the family Cupressaceae. It has one of the largest ranges of woody plants in the World. Juniper grows as a small tree or shrub throughout the cool temperate United States. Juniperus communis is commercially grown as an evergreen ornamental shrub but is not a valuable tree for wood products. Red cedar is considered Genus Juniperous but I include it elsewhere and as a separate tree.
There are thirteen juniper species native to North America and eleven are mostly tree-like. They have a fleshy, berry-looking cone where the seeds develop and the leaves are more like scales than coniferous needles. It is extremely hard to identify juniper species so I will stick with what I consider the three most common.
Most North American junipers are growing in the western states (if you exclude red cedar) and are a very common site in the wild landscape. Junipers grow from arid deserts and grasslands up to the western pine and oak forest zone. In many cases, juniper can be considered a low-branching shrub in rounded form but some become small trees.