Desert Ceanothus

Desert Ceanothus Plant Information


Desert Ceanothus grows in the following 6 states:

Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California, Nevada, Texas

Ceanothus greggii, with the common name desert ceanothus, is a species of shrub in the buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae.

It is native to the Southwestern United States, California, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico. It grows in desert scrub, sagebrush, chaparral, and other dry habitats such as inland mountai slopes, at elevations of 1,000m (3,300ft) to 2,300m (7,500ft) .
It was named for its collector Josiah Gregg, who found the plant in 1847 at the site of the Battle of Buena Vista in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico during the Mexican-American War by Asa Gray of Harvard University in 1853.
Ceanothus greggii is a many-branched shrub that grows erect to nearly 2m (6.6ft) in maximum height. Its woody parts are gray in color and somewhat woolly. Branches are opposite and rigid.
The evergreen leaves are oppositely arranged, 2 to 9mm long, and variable in shape, with a prominent midvein. They may be toothed or smooth along the edges, and are indeed usually somewhat cupped (see top image).
The inflorescence is a small (less than 2cm long) cluster of many white flower, on short lateral branchess. It blooms in spring. Blooms are considered highly fragrant.
The fruit is a horned capsule a few millimeters wide which bursts explosively to expel the three seeds which require thermal scarification from wildfire before they can germinate.
This shrub is eagerly browsed by livestock and wild ungulates such as mule deer and desert bighorn sheep.
Varieties include:
Media related to Ceanothus greggii at Wikimedia Commons

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