Oneseeded Juniper

(Juniperus monosperma) A North American species, growing roughly from Kansas to Mexico. The seeds are edible, and were eaten or used for seasoning meat by the Indians of New Mexico (Yanovsky). The Zuni Indians used the bark as tinder to ignite the sparks from the fire sticks employed for making the New Year fire. They roasted thin twigs, roo, and then steeped them in hot water to make a tea to be drunk before childbirth, the idea being to promote muscular relaxation. The tea could not be taken long before labour, otherwise, they said, the child would be dark in colour (Stevenson). A Navajo legend tells how in ancient days a woman was seated under a juniper tree finishing a basket as she always did, when she thought how much better it would be if she could make a more beautiful margin. As she sat there, a juniper branch was thrown into her basket by one of the gods, so she imitated the peculiar fold of the leaves, and that is why Navajo baskets still have this characteristic rim (Elmore).

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