Ceanothus americanus Linnaeus, Sp. P. 1: 195. 1753 New Jersey-tea

C. americanus var. intermedius (F. T. Pursh) W. Trelease; Ceanothus americanus var. pitcheri J. Torrey & A. Gray; Ceanothus intermedius F. T. Pursh


Shrubs: to 1.5 m.

Stems: erect, not rooting at nodes; branchlets green, terete, smooth or slightly ridged, flexible, not spinescent, pubescent.

Leaves: deciduous, alternate, not clustered; stipules thin, deciduous; petioles 4--13 mm.

Leaf blades ovate to ovate-oblong, 3--10 x 1--6.4 cm, 3-veined, bases rounded, margins not revolute, glandular-serrate, tips acuminate, acute or rarely obtuse, abaxially pale green, pubescent, especially on veins, adaxially dull, light to dark green, plane, pubescent, rarely only on major veins.

Inflorescences: terminal or axillary, panicle-like, 3--10 cm.

Flowers: white.

Fruits: globose, 4--5 (-6) mm broad, roughened, horns 0; valves crested.

Cytology: 2 n = 24. [W.M. Bouden 1940]

Flowering: early summer and sporadically throughout summer.

Habitat: dry, open woods, hillsides, roadsides, sandhills and prairies; 80--250 m.

Range: Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., Vt., W.Va., Wis.

Other Information:

C. americanus var. intermedius and C. americanus var. pitcheri are placed in synonomy due to the clinal nature of their identifying morphological characters and because flavonoid studies did not support their recognition. [N. Coile 1988] The dried leaves were used as a tea substitute during the American Revolution. [Britton, N. L. and A. Brown 1897] This species is useful as an ornamental shrub and as a horticultural breeding source. [M. Van Rensselaer 1942] If you have any comments or information regarding this species, please send mail to Dr. Schmidt.

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This page was last modified: Feb. 18, 2000. CS.