Juniperus silicicola (Small) L.H. Bailey. Section: Sabina. Phen: Jan-Feb; Oct-Nov. Hab: Maritime forests and maritime scrub, hammocks, coastal shell middens and natural shell deposits, brackish marshes, pine rocklands in s. FL, and other sandy or peaty, circumneutral situations. Dist: Se. VA south to s. FL, west to e. LA (Florida Parishes); reports from further west (e.g. TX) are misidentifications.
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Taxonomy Comments: The recognition of the "silicicola" entity (and if recognized, at what rank) has been controversial. Some authors have treated this taxon as a species, but Adams (1986, 2008a, 2008b, 2014), Adams in FNA (1993b), and Adams & Schwarzbach (2012, 2013) considered varietal status more appropriate. Adams (1995) suggested that the two may have diverged as recently as the Pleistocene. Later, however, Adams (2008c, 2014) and Adams & Schwarzbach (2012, 2013) presented molecular evidence that "var. silicicola may be of Caribbean origin or perhaps of hybrid origin between J. barbadensis var. lucayana and J. virginiana var. virginiana". The "virginiana" and "silicicola" entities have been said to intergrade in GA, and in other areas the characters used to separate them seem variable or imperfectly correlated. A preliminary molecular phylogeny, however, shows J. virginiana clading with J. maritima of BC and WA, this clade sister to J. silicicola (Adams & Schwarzbach 2012, 2013), which if confirmed with more detailed sampling and analysis would suggest that species status is warranted. Given the uncertainty that "virginiana" and "silicicola" are indeed sister taxa (more closely related to one another than to other species) I choose to accord them species rank, despite the sometime challenges in their straightforward identification based on morphologic features.
Other Comments: Large individuals can be as much as a meter in diameter.
Synonymy: = RAB; = Juniperus virginiana L. ssp. silicicola (Small) Silba; = Juniperus virginiana L. var. silicicola (Small) A.E.Murray – FNA2, K1, K2, K4, Adams & Schwarzbach (2012), Adams & Schwarzbach (2013a), Adams (2008b), Adams (2014), Adams (2018); = n/a – C; = Sabina barbadensis (L.) Small – S13, misapplied; = Sabina silicicola Small – S; >< Juniperus barbadensis L. – Bah, partially misapplied; < Juniperus virginiana L. – Fl1, WH3; < Juniperus virginiana L. var. virginiana – F