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Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus

Ceanothus greggii A. Gray var. vestitus (Greene) McMinn

Mojave Ceanothus, Desert Ceanothus

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Synonym(s): Ceanothus greggii ssp. vestitus, Ceanothus vestitus


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Desert ceanothus is an erect, rigidly branched, half-evergreen shrub from 3 to 6-1/2 ft. tall. Leaves are small and leathery - grayish-green above, gray beneath. The showy flower clusters are composed of small, creamy-white to bluish flowers.

There are dozens of species of Ceanothus in North America. A few reach tree size, but most are shrubs and the majority occur in the West.

The species name “greggii” was named for Josiah Gregg, (1806-1850). He was born in Overton County, Tennessee. In the summer of 1841 and again in the winter of 1841-42 he traveled through Texas, up the Red River valley, and later from Galveston to Austin and by way of Nacogdoches to Arkansas. He took note of Texas geology, trees, prevalent attitudes, and politics. At the same time, Gregg began compiling his travel notes into a readable manuscript. His “Commerce of the Prairies”, which came out in two volumes in 1844, was an immediate success. In 1848 he joined a botanical expedition to western Mexico and California, during which he corresponded with and sent specimens to the eminent botanist George Engelman in St. Louis. Subsequently, the American Botanical Society added the Latin name “greggii” in his honor to twenty-three species of plants. Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6-1/2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Usually white, sometimes bluish to purplish.


USA: AZ , CA , NV , UT
Native Distribution: W. TX to s.e. UT, NV, s. CA & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry slopes; 3000 to 7000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.

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.


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

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 38 - Flora of North America (2019) 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 greggii var. vestitus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus


Record Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff

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