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Ceanothus arboreus

Ceanothus arboreus Greene

Feltleaf Ceanothus, Feltleaf, Island Ceanothus, Island Mountain Lilac

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Synonym(s): Ceanothus arboreus var. glabra


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A tall, tree-like shrub, 12-25 ft. high and 10 ft. wide. Bark is smooth and gray and broadly oval leaves are large, glossy and dark green. Flowers are light blue and occur in clusters up to 5 in. long. Evergreen large shrub or small tree with short, straight trunk, rounded crown of many stout, spreading branches, and abundant, pale blue flowers.

This distinctive species grows wild only on three California islands. It is planted along the coast as an ornamental and a screen and along roadsides. One of the largest species of its genus, it bears a suitable species name meaning "treelike."


From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 25 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Santa Catalina Islands
Native Habitat: Brushy slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Various well-drained, dry soils.
Conditions Comments: Grows 5-10 ft./year and is a fast filler.

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.


Description: Most Ceanothus spp. come well from seed. Cuttings of this species may also be successful.
Seed Collection: 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: A hot water treatment may be beneficial. (Bring water to a boil and then steep the seeds for 10-15 minutes.)
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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