Dark green shrubs dot the landscape at Red Rock Canyon on rocky slopes and in the canyon. These plants survive where many would die with the fierce winds, subfreezing winter temperatures, excessive summer heat and bone dry soils.
The Utah juniper is well adapted to the desert environment here. Its massive roots makes up 2/3 of the shrubs mass. Its tap-root reaches 25 feet below the surface with lateral roots that absorb what little precipitation falls.
Desert wildlife find shelter from the hot baking sun in the shade of this plant. And its berries are food for jack rabbits, foxes and birds.
If this plant looks familiar to you, it is because there are many species of juniper that grows around the world. One species is also shrub used in garden landscapes.