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Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea) | NPIN
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Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea)
Smith, R.W.

Ceanothus americanus

Ceanothus americanus L.

New Jersey tea, Redroot

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Synonym(s): Ceanothus americanus var. intermedius, Ceanothus americanus var. pitcheri, Ceanothus intermedius

USDA Symbol: ceam

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

New Jersey-tea is a low, upright, deciduous shrub that grows to only 3 ft. tall. Pubescent leaves give the entire plant a grayish cast. Small white flowers occur in 2 in., branch-tip clusters. A low shrub with tiny white flowers in oval clusters rising from the leaf axils on the new shoots. The base is woody, while the upper portion of the plant is made up of herbaceous, spreading branches. Fall color is insignificant.

The dried leaves of this nitrogen-fixing shrub make an excellent tea that was very popular during the Revolutionary War period. Smaller Red-root (C. ovatus), with flowers in a globose cluster and narrower leaves, ranges from Manitoba and western Quebec to western Maine, south to western Georgia, west to Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. Small-leaved Red-root (C. microphyllus), has tiny leaves, less than 1/2 (1.3 cm) long, and occurs in sandy pine or oak woods in the South.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: Normally no more than 3 feet tall, but can reach 5 feet.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flowers in 2 inch heads
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: 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
Canada: MB , NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: Que. to FL, w. to MN, e. NE, e. KS & TX
Native Habitat: Open, deciduous woods; woodland edges; oak savannahs; mesic or dry prairies; roadsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, mesic sand, loam, or limey soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: This extremely adaptable species can withstand inhospitable conditions because of massive, deep roots. It is quick to recover after fire.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Ground cover, Rocky hillside, Low growing, Planned landscape
Use Wildlife: Butterflies use flowers. Turkeys and quail consume seeds.
Use Food: The dried leaves of this nitrogen-fixing shrub make an excellent tea that was very popular during the Revolutionary War period. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Spring Azure, Summer Azure, Mottled Duskywing
Nectar Source: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Ceanothus americanus is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Spring Azure
(Celastrina "ladon" )

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Mottled Duskywing
(Erynnis martialis)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Summer Azure
(Celastrina neglecta)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , Softwood Cuttings
Seed Collection: Collect seeds in late summer and early fall. Because dry capsules disperse their seed abruptly with a sudden ejection, it may be necessary to tie cloth bags around the clusters of capsules to catch the seeds.
Seed Treatment: Scarification may be necessary and can be accomplished by soaking the seeds in hot water (180-200 degrees). Soak in cooling water 24 hours. Stratify all seeds for 60-90 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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April 07, 2010
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view the full question and answer

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July 03, 2009
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From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Wildflower Farm - Coldwater, ON
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 199 - National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers : Eastern Region (2001) J. W. Thieret; W. A. Niering; N. C. Olmstead
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ceanothus americanus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ceanothus americanus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ceanothus americanus

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-12-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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