Juniperus barbadensis var. barbadensis was long on the wish list of to-be-documented conifers for both the Dendrological Atlas and Conifers Around the World. J. b. var. lucayana, the variety named well over a century later than the species still occurs in broadly scattered small populations in the Bahamas, Cuba, and Jamaica, but the type variety had become extremely rare on Barbados by 1830, and soon disappeared from there and the neighboring islands.
The type species is a common tree in the eastern Mediterranean (its botanically named varieties are more like outlying small populations to the northeast). The common name comes after ancient Brutium (now Calabria in the southern Apennine Peninsula), where its stands are generally considered to be naturalized from ancient cultivation – these are the westernmost occurrences.
Featuring "charismatic" species, like Giant Sequoia, in Conifers Around the World has been somewhat different than in most cases. The largest and smallest conifers are equally treated in the book with species descriptions about 1800 characters long.
This spruce is distributed from Uzbekistan to Xinjiang spanning a range of about 1000 km. For our Conifers Around the World, we included a main (habit/habitat) photo that was taken in Xinjiang in 1998. The dark purple closed cones were also documented there.
To document this tree in Sikkim, in late fall 2003 we started our journey together with botanist friend and tour leader dr. Mohan Siwakoti from Kathmandu. From the capital of Nepal we took a flight to Birathnagar, from there took a jeep ride to Kakarvitta (a border town between Nepal and India) and then to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim (state of India).
Juniperus semiglobosa is a common juniper in the high mountains of Central Asia and we have sufficiently documented it for our Conifers Around the World (see page 353). However, it was noted by us in a 2003 expedition to Kyrgyzstan that it is variable species requiring more study in the future.
Our first encounter with this species takes us back to 1980, the time of the first exploration of Turkey's conifers. That time we went there in the autumn, and had pleasantly summer-like days.
It took us 6 years to be able to arrange a conifer-focused botanical exploration in Tibet. With financial help from I.D.R.I. this visit was organized through cooperation with colleagues at the National Herbarium, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, from where 4 colleagues accompanied us with local guidance from the Tibetan Plateau Ecological Institute, Lhasa.
On continental Europe, this juniper reaches the westernmost stretches of the Mediterranean coast, in Portugal growing under the mild and rather wet atlanto-mediterranean climatic conditions while in the east of its range occurring in the dry coasts of Sinai and western Arabia.
Based on our field explorations in southern Chile, we found this species quite rare in natural habitats. One such location was Cerro Ñielol, a miraculously saved Valdivian type of laurel-leaved forest near the city of Temuco.