File Size: 75 KB
Ceanothus americanus  L.
Douglas County, Kansas
Perennial shrub
Height: 16-40 inches
Family: Rhamnaceae - Buckthorn Family
Flowering Period:   May, June
Also Called: New jersey tea.
Stems: Shrub
Leaves: Alternate: petioles 1/6 to 1/2 inch; blade 3-veined from near base, oblong to broadly oblong-ovate, 2/5 to 4 inches long, 1/5 to 2.4 inches wide, base broadly wedge-shaped to rounded or nearly cordate, margins serrate to serrulate, tip acute or obtuse, lower surface densely puberulent, upper surface sparsely puberulent, especially along veins.
Inflorescences: Elongate panicles with scattered corymbs, terminal on short axillary shoots of the year; peduncles 1.6 to 4 inches, those of proximal inflorescences longer than subtending leaves, naked or occasionally with 1-2 distal leaf-like bracts.
Flowers: Sepals 5, white, incurved between petals, deciduous, 1/50 to 1/25 inch; petals 5, white, 1/16 to 1/10 inch, longer than sepals, long-clawed, spreading, apex not notched; stamens 5, exserted at flowering; style 3-lobed.
Fruits: Drupes black, capsule-like, 1/6 to 1/5 inch, subtended by persistent hypanthium, 3-lobed, each lobe crested; stones usually 3; seeds 1 per stone, reddish brown, smooth, glossy, ca. 1/12 inch.
Habitat: Rocky tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies, and woodlands
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: Native Americans used the leaves to make a tea-like beverage and took infusions of the roots for constipation, pulmonary troubles, colds, and stomach troubles. Great Plains tribes used the woody roots as fuel when on buffalo hunts when there was a scarcity of timber. The leaves were used as a tea substitute during the Revolutionary War.
Comments: Ceanothus, from the Greek name of spiny plant not of this genus.
 See also Inland ceanothus

American ceanothus inflorescences
76 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
American ceanothus
112 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
American ceanothus
88 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
American ceanothus
79 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
American ceanothus
154 KB
Douglas County, Kansas
American ceanothus leaves
91 KB
Douglas County, Kansas