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Checker Barked Juniper Tree

Checker Barked Juniper TreeThe Checker-barked Juniper (Juniperus pachyphloea, Torr.) also inhabits southwestern Texas, following arid slopes between 4,000 and 6,000 feet in altitude, and invading New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico. It is a considerable tree, 40 to 60 feet high, with short, stout trunk and broad, horizontal spread of limb-a lusty tree to be produced on arid soil. The peculiar checkered bark gives it distinction in the genus. It is often 3 to 4 inches in thickness, and the regularity of the deep, vertical furrowing seems strikingly artificial. The tree is called "alligator juniper" in Arizona. The thickness of the bark is exceptional among junipers.

The Indians gather the fruits, which are large and copiously borne by mature trees, and put them away for winter. Though resinous in taste, the cake made out of these berries ground into meal is by no means unpalatable to white folks. Baked in the sun, it is light, sweet and easily digested. The large and plentiful berries of the other mountain junipers are used in the same way.