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Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper) (No Thoroughfare Canyon, Colorado National Monument, Colorado, USA) 5 | by James St. John
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Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper) (No Thoroughfare Canyon, Colorado National Monument, Colorado, USA) 5

Juniperus osteosperma (Torrey, 1857) - Utah juniper in Colorado, USA.

 

Plants are multicellular, photosynthesizing eucaryotes. Most species occupy terrestrial environments, but they also occur in freshwater and saltwater aquatic environments. The oldest known land plants in the fossil record are Ordovician to Silurian. Land plant body fossils are known in Silurian sedimentary rocks - they are small and simple plants (e.g., Cooksonia). Fossil root traces in paleosol horizons are known in the Ordovician. During the Devonian, the first trees and forests appeared. Earth's initial forestation event occurred during the Middle to Late Paleozoic. Earth's continents have been partly to mostly covered with forests ever since the Late Devonian. Occasional mass extinction events temporarily removed much of Earth's plant ecosystems - this occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary (251 million years ago) and the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (65 million years ago).

 

The most conspicuous group of living plants is the angiosperms, the flowering plants. They first unambiguously appeared in the fossil record during the Cretaceous. They quickly dominated Earth's terrestrial ecosystems, and have dominated ever since. This domination was due to the evolutionary success of flowers, which are structures that greatly aid angiosperm reproduction.

 

Junipers are a group of about 4 to 6 dozen species of evergreen gymnosperms that occur throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The Utah juniper occurs in western America - it has been reported in the Great Basin of Nevada and western Utah, the Colorado Plateau of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, and in some mountain ranges of California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. The small, bluish-gray, berry-like structures are actually fleshy cones that bear seeds.

 

Classification: Plantae, Spermatophyta, Pinophyta, Pinopsida, Pinales, Cupressaceae

 

Locality: No Thoroughfare Canyon, southeastern Colorado National Monument, Colorado, USA

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More info. at:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniperus_osteosperma

and

www.nps.gov/colm/learn/nature/utah-juniper.htm

 

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Taken on June 16, 2009