Ceanothus velutinus Douglas ex Hook.
Snowbrush, Snowbrush Ceanothus, Tobacco-brush, Mountain Balm, Buckbrush
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)
USDA Symbol: CEVE
The clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers contrast well with the dark, balsam-scented, sticky foliage of this 3-15 ft. broadleaf evergreen shrub. Snowbrush’s stems are stout and much-branched, lending a spreading, round-topped habit. The entire plant is pleasantly aromatic.
Snowbrush is a member of the buckthorn family (family Rhamnaceae), which includes shrubs, woody vines, and small to large trees (rarely herbs). There are about 700 species worldwide.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall, often much shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
DistributionUSA: CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: Tulare Co., CA to coastal B.C., e., mainly in mts., to CO & Black Hills, SD
Native Habitat: Open, wooded, hillsides & ledges; 3500 to 10,000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained, rocky soil.
Conditions Comments: Too much shade quickly results in a leggy specimen. This is sometimes considered a perennial herb.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Larval Host: California tortoisehell
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.
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds in fall. Many Ceanothus species can be propagated vegetatively with cuttings or, if it is a creeping type, with layers.
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: Seeds require 3 months stratification after a hot water treatment. (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 DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
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 resourcesUSDA: Find Ceanothus velutinus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ceanothus velutinus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ceanothus velutinus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff