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Ceanothus americanus

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: low

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: rich, average, loam, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 2'-3'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, cottage garden plant, drought tolerant, edible, fragrant flowers, medicinal, mounding, rock garden plant

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)
  • Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)
  • Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)
  • Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)
  • Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Ceanothus americanus

Also known as:

New Jersey tea

,

redroot

,

Indian tea

,

wild snowball

,

snowbrush

,

soapbloom

Scientific Synonyms:

Ceanothus intermedius

Description

Ceanothus americanus is a compact, low-growing, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that usually does not exceed a height of 3'. The green leaves are alternate and oblong. Their underside, as well as the stems are covered with fine white hairs, giving the plant an overall gray-green appearance. Dense flower clusters appear from the leaf axils of the upper stems. These clusters resemble white puffballs, and are made-up of tiny, elongated tubular fragrant flowers. These give way to small, unremarkable, berry-like drupes.

Cultivation

Ceanothus americanus is adapted to average soils, so long as they are very well-drained. It produces a deep taproot, making it drought resistant and also difficult to transplant. It will tolerate open-shade and filtered light, but flower production will be at its best in full sun. It is very low maintenance and easy to grow. Bloom time will last a month, from April to June, depending on geographic location. Zones 4-8

Propagation

Easily propagated from seed. These will benefit from an overnight soak before sowing. It can also be propagated by softwood cuttings in spring, or by root cuttings taken in fall.

Additional Notes

This a commercially underutilized, highly ornamental and adaptable shrub. The common name "New Jersey tea" is a reference to its leaves that were used as far back as the colonist and revolutionary days, as a substitute for tea. The common name "redroot" is a reference to the color of its taproot. This plant has long been used in traditional medicine, and the roots have recently been found to have strong blood-clotting properties.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Threatened: ME

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rhamnales
Family Rhamnaceae Buckthorn family
Genus Ceanothus ceanothus
Species Ceanothus americanus New Jersey tea