Ceanothus herbaceus Raf.
Prairie Redroot, Smaller Redroot, Small Redroot, Inland Ceanothus, Fuzzy Ceanothus, Jersey Tea, Redroot
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)
Synonym(s): Ceanothus herbaceus var. pubescens, Ceanothus ovatus, Ceanothus ovatus var. pubescens, Ceanothus pubescens
USDA Symbol: CEHE
This species grows 2-3 ft. tall with a thick rootstock and dense foliage. Leaves as much as 2 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, may be as small as 1 inch by 1/4 inch, with prominent, yellowish veins on the lower side. Margins finely serrate. Less woody than C. americanus, with narrow, glossier leaves and shorter flower clusters. Flowers small, white, in dense, rounded clusters 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide, at the ends of leafy twigs, opening from March to July. Fruit a rounded, dark brown, 3 lobed capsule, about 3/16 inch in diameter, with a saucerlike support. Fall color is insignificant.
This genus can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Blue
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: AR , CO , DC , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , SD , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY
Native Distribution: VT, Que., MN & Powder River, Co., MT, s. to n.w. IN, LA & TX
Native Habitat: Rocky, open, wooded hillsides; roadsides. Little Bluestem prairies; Rocky woods; Limestone escarpment. In drier, more alkaline habitat than Ceanothus americanus.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained clays, sandy loams, or limey soils, calcareous preferred. Often found growing in cracks in limestone outcrops.
Conditions Comments: Prefers more alkaline and dry sites than Ceanothus americanus.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial 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)
Mottled Duskywing |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationPropagation 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0500 Collected Mar. 28, 1992 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
BibliographyBibref 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 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Ceanothus herbaceus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ceanothus herbaceus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ceanothus herbaceus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-02
Research By: NPC