Index
Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Ceanothus Sp. - California-Lilac

Family: Rhamnaceae - Buckthorn Family [E-flora]

"Habit: Shrub, tree-like or not, generally erect or mat- to mound-like. Stem: branches generally arranged like leaves; twigs thorn-like or not, generally not angled. Leaf: alternate or opposite, some clustered on short-shoots or not, deciduous or evergreen; stipules scale-like, thin, deciduous, or knob-like, corky, thick, base persistent; blade flat or wavy, tip generally acute to obtuse, margin thick (i.e., thicker than adjacent blade) or not, rolled under or not, wavy or not, entire or gland- or sharp-toothed, glands generally dark, teeth pale, alternate blade 1--3-ribbed from base, generally thin, opposite blade 1-ribbed from base, thick, firm. Inflorescence: umbel-, raceme-, or panicle-like aggregations of few-flowered clusters, axillary or terminal; pedicels white to deep blue or pink. Flower: conspicuous, generally < 5 mm; hypanthium surrounding fleshy disk below ovary base, in fruit thick, not splitting; sepals generally 5, lance-deltate, incurved, colored like petals, persistent; petals generally 5, blade hood-like, white to deep blue or pink; stamens generally 5, opposite petals; ovary 1/2-inferior, 3-lobed, chambers 3, each 1-ovuled, styles 3. Fruit: capsule, +- spheric, generally +- 3-lobed, generally smooth, 3-ridged or not, horned or not. Seed: 3, 2--5 mm." [Jepson]

"Species In Genus: +- 55 species: North America. Etymology: (Greek: thorny pl) Note: Hybrids possibly common (named hybrids not recognized here), discussed in Fross & Wilken; possible hybrid forms do not key easily." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Ceanothus sanguineus - Redstem ceanothus [E-flora]
  2. Ceanothus velutinus - Snowbrush [E-flora]

Uses: "Ceanothus spp. Bracilillo, arbol de jab6n. Decoction of some part of plant produced a detergent, also used as wash for facial blemishes and for the hair. (5)" [ECIC Bocek]

Phytochemicals

Ceanothus americanus

Ceanothus integerrimus

References


Ceanothus sanguineus - Redstem ceanothus

Other Names: Oregon Tea Tree [PFAF]

"Ceanothus sanguineus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Deciduous shrub 1-3 m tall; stems numerous, erect, greenish, becoming purplish-red, smooth." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Leaves: Alternate, the blades egg-shaped to elliptic, 3-10 cm long, hairy on the underside of the veins, finely toothed, glandular; stalks 1-2.5 cm long; stipules 3-6 mm long, soon deciduous." [IFBC-E-flora]

Similar Species: "Snowbrush (C. velutinus) grows in similar habitats, but is usually shorter, evergreen, and has thick, shiny leaves that are often sticky on top and velvety beneath. As well, snowbrush lacks the red stems that characterize redstem ceanothus." [????]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to dry rocky slopes, shrublands, open forests and burns in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in S BC; S to ID, MT and CA, disjunct in MI." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information
"A very shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Occurs in continental climates on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils. Scattered and often plentiful on disturbed water-shedding sites within cool temperate, cool semiarid, and dry cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with continentality. Common in early seral communities in the coastal-interior ecotone. When forming a shrub layer it hinders regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria enhances the supply of available soil nitrogen. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]

Food Use

Other Use

Medicinal Use

Cultivation
"Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade[11, 200]. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk[200]. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[182]. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil[182]. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. Fast growing, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200, 212]." [PFAF]

Propagation
"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 - 3 months stratification at 1oc[138, 200]. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 2 months at 20oc[138]. One report says that the stored seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 - 120oc for 4 - 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it[214]. It then requires a period of chilling below 5oc for up to 84 days before it will germinate[214]. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 - 5oc it has shown little deterioration in viability[214]. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily[214]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node[200], July/August in a frame[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 7 - 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame[78]. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break[78]. Good percentage." [PFAF]

Synonyms

References


Ceanothus velutinus - Snowbrush

Other Names: snowbrush ceanothus Sticky Laurel, Hooker's ceanothus [PFAF]

"Ceanothus velutinus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Evergreen shrub 0.5-2 m tall; stems numerous, prostrate to erect, green, minutely hairy to smooth." [IFBC-E-flora]
"Leaves: Alternate, the blades egg-shaped to elliptic, 5-10 cm long, smooth, shiny above, often tinged with brown and sticky above, greyish-hairy to smooth below, finely toothed; stalks 1-2 cm long; stipules 1 mm long, deciduous." [IFBC-E-flora]

Notes:
Two varieties occur in BC.

Similar Species: "Another shrub (3-7 m tall) with oval (but opposite and wavy-margined) evergreen leaves is silk-tassel (Garrya elliplica), common along the coast near the southern limits of our region. Female plants produce long-persistent, hanging clusters of silky flowers (in winter) that finally are replaced by silky-woolly fruits." [????]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to dry rocky slopes, shrublands, open forests and burns in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common on S BBC except rare on Vancouver Island; E to SW AB and S to SD, CO and CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information
"A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Cordilleran North American evergreen shrub. Occurs in continental cool temperate and cool semiarid climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils, sites. Scattered to abundant in early-seral communities on disturbed, water-shedding sites; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality (occasional in the coastal-interior ecotone). When forming a shrub layer, it hinders natural regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria enhances the supply of available soil nitrogen. Characteristic of continental forests." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]

Edible Use

Other Use

Medicinal Use

Phytochemicals

Alkaloids:

Propagation
"Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 - 3 months stratification at 1oc[138, 200]. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 2 months at 20oc[138]. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 - 120oc for 4 - 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it[214]. It then requires a period of chilling below 5°c for up to 84 days before it will germinate[214]. Seeds have considerable longevity, some that have been in the soil for 200 years or more have germinated[214]. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily[214]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node[200], July/August in a frame[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 7 - 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame[78]. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break[78]. Good percentage." [PFAF]

Cultivation
"Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade[11, 200]. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk[200]. One report says that this species is hardy to zone 5 (tolerating temperatures down to about -20oc)[200] whilst another says that it needs the protection of a wall when grown outdoors in Britain[1]. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[182]. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil[182]. Plants flower on the previous year's growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering has finished[200, 219]. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life[200]. Fast growing, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. The leaves have a strong scent of balsam[200]. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200, 212]." [PFAF]

References


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