The western portion of the Orcas Island has stands of Juniperus maritima (rarest-forest-in-western-washington) and the species is scattered about other parts of the San Juan Islands and the islands of Skagit County. On a recent trip to Orcas Island I spotted a particularly tall specimen growing out of a bedrock bluff along the shoreline. I estimated it to be 45 feet tall.
A tall lonely Juniperus maritima
Close up of tree
A few notes on this tree. It was growing on the highly exposed bluff out away from the forest above a south facing headland. The site is east of the village of Orcas. The bedrock is tectonicaly sheared neat volcanic sand stone and mud stone of the Constitution Formation. The bedrock note relates to an affinity the tree has with ultra mafic rocks of the Fidalgo Ophiolite which was not present at this location.
The forest behind away from the shore consists predominantly of Douglas fir; however, I observed lodge pole pine, grand fir, western hemlock and western red cedar in the forest as well as red alder and on the outer edge madrone.
I also noted that the sprig of green I grasped from the lower branch shown above had the more classic juvenile very spiny foliage that protects the plant from being nibbled by deer.
I only observed one more juniper in the vicinity. Nearly 350 feet further along the shore I came across a very stressed juniper hanging down the rock. However, this one did have fruits. Perhaps a coyote or other critter will do some planting and keep these isolated junipers going.