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Juniper tree fungal disease will hit UK gin producers

24 June 2013 by
Juniper tree fungal disease will hit UK gin producers

Juniper berry stocks in Scotland are in grave danger of disappearing due to a booming rabbit and vole population taking their toll on plants that are already suffering from old age.

Many juniper trees are more than 100 years old and this new fungal disease threat means that 45% of Scottish trees are at risk of being wiped out, according to research published by the Forestry Commission Scotland.

In a statement, Plantlife Scotland said: "Juniper is in serious trouble. One of only three native conifers in Britain, not only does it face a deadly fungal disease (Phytophthora austrocedrae) it has also disappeared from over a third of Britain where it was previously found.

"Juniper with its blueish green needles and green or black berries is easy to identify. We are asking people to help us by completing a survey form every time they see Juniper in Scotland. If however you notice any orange or brown bushes, there may be a risk of infection by Phytophthora austrocedrae.

"If this happens people should document this on their survey form but ensure they do not walk around the area and clean mud thoroughly from their boots and equipment."

Juniper's aromatic berries give gin its distinctive flavour, and are regularly used as an ingredient in game dishes.

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