The juniper is a conifer tree. The juniper berry, or more accurately cone, is harvested from several juniper species, especially juniperus communis. It is not a true berry but a cone with fleshy and merged scales.
The berries are used as a spice, especially in European cuisine. I find they impart a delicious flavour when I add them to
sauerkraut when I make it. It has a clear, peppery-eucalypt flavour.
The berries are green when young, and turn purple-black on the tree over a period of about 18 months. The green berries are used to flavour gin. Traditional uses include being used for arthritis, rheumatism, and as a female contraceptive. The berries are also distilled to make an essential oil.