J. chinensis is native to northeast Asia, including China, Mongolia, Japan, Korea and parts of Russia. The Chinese have grown the species for centuries and produced a number of their own garden cultivars before the plant was "discovered" by the west. The genus Juniperus
was classified in 1767, but taxonomic confusion resulted with the introduction of other forms from China that are technically the same species but more accurately subspecies and cultivars. Further cross breeding resulted in a huge array of sizes, forms and colors. The leaves of this juniper are toxic but have been used over the years in certain home remedy ointments. Foliage is repellent to lice, and oils are extracted from the plant and used in traditional insecticides.