Ceanothus herbaceus Raf.

  • Family: Rhamnaceae
  • Common names: red root, New Jersey tea.
  • Synonyms: C. ovatus, C. ovatus var. pubescens, C. pubescens, C. herbaceus var. pubescens.

    Shrub, to 1 m (3 ft) tall. Twigs green, brown or tan, slender, puberulent. Leaves alternate, simple; elliptic, 1.9-6.4 cm (0.75-2.5 in) long, 1-2.5 cm (0.4-1 in) wide; glabrous, but may be lightly pubescent beneath; dull green, paler beneath; cuneate at base, acute or obtuse at apex, margins crenate to serrate with gland tipped teeth; petiole 0.3-1.3 cm (1/8-1/2 in) long, pubescent to glabrous. Inflorescence a panicle of many flowers on peduncles 0.6-5 cm (1/4-2 in) long; calyx 5-lobed; petals 5, white, spreading and hooded; styles single, 3-lobed; stamens 5, exerted; flowers appear from April to July. Fruits capsules, 0.5 cm (1/5 in) in diameter; black; fruits mature August to September.

    Distribution: Oklahoma, central Texas, and Arkansas east to Florida, north to Quebec, west to Minnesota and South Dakota. Common in Oklahoma.
    Habitat: slopes composed of calcareous rocks.
    Comments: Ceanothus is an ancient name, the meaning of which is unclear; herbacea refers to leafy branchlets. Nitrogen-fixing nodules affix to the roots.
    Horticulture: Propagated by seeds, cuttings, and layering. It is recommended that seeds be soaked in warm water and stratified. Redroot tolerates hot, dry conditions.
    Wildlife benefits: Seeds are eaten by birds.
    NWI status: none

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/9/99
    Go to Oklahoma Biological Survey Home Page