Oxycedrus means ‘Sharp Cedar’. It is usually dioecious (separate male & female plants). Farmers used to make an infusion from the berries to smear on horses against insect bites.
Cade, an essential oil, is produced from the wood of the Juniperus oxycedrus through a process called ‘pyrolysis’ (dry distillation). The wood is deposited in a distillation kettle. A very hot fire is lit in two ovens, one on either side of the distillation kettle. The wood is exposed to extreme heat and lack of oxygen, turning it into carbon. Liquid gases escape from the kettle through a pipe into a cooling vessel filled with water. The liquid, after cooling down, runs into another vessel just beneath. As oil is lighter than water, the ‘cade’ oil lies on top of the water and can then be siphoned off.
The female flowers develop into cones. The male flowers are yellow, catkin-like and fall off in late winter after pollination.
Needle leaf is narrow, pointed, like a needle, e.g. Pinus. In whorls of 3, spine-tipped and with 2 white stripes.
Cone: ripens to orange red berries in 18 months.
Essential oil: Cade is an antiseptic, used in cosmetics to treat dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, scalp infections with hair loss, skin eruptions.