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Ceanothus megacarpus (Bigpod ceanothus)
Hardie-Scott, Linda

Ceanothus megacarpus

Ceanothus megacarpus Nutt.

Bigpod Ceanothus, Big-pod Buckbrush, Big-pod Ceanothus

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A large, compact semi-evergreen shrub, from 4-18 ft. tall, with reddish or grayish-brown branches. Leaves are persistent. White flower clusters are few-flowered and occur on lateral branches.

Quite drought-tolerant.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 18 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , Nov , Dec


Native Distribution: CA coastal areas from Santa Barbara to San Diego Cos.
Native Habitat: Dry, chaparral slopes below 2000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Quite drought-tolerant.


Conspicuous Flowers: 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.


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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

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


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

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