Ceanothus americanus, New Jersey Tea


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Attractive Flowers:
Average – Dry soil:
Average well drained soil:
Average Wildlife Value:
Beneficial Insects:
Clay Soil- High clay content, fine texture:
Culinary uses:
Deer Resistant:
Dry-Moist Soil:
Full – Part Sun (6+ hours of sun):
Herbaceous plant:
High Wildlife Value:
Loamy Soil- mostly silt, sand, some clay:
Native to Coastal Regions:
Native To Mountain Regions:
Native to Piedmont Regions:
Organic soil- high level of decayed leaves, bark:
Part Sun – Part Shade :
Pollinator support:
UPL- Almost never occur in wetlands:
Full Sun:
Common Name: New Jersey tea
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae
Native Range: Eastern and central North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in sandy loams or rocky soils with good drainage. Thick, woody, red roots go deep and help plant withstand droughty conditions, but make established shrubs difficult to transplant.

Noteworthy Characteristics
Ceanothus americanus, commonly called New Jersey tea, is a compact, dense, rounded shrub which typically grows 2-3′ tall (less frequently to 4′). It occurs in prairies, glades, dry open woods and thickets. Cylindrical clusters (1-2″ long) of tiny, fragrant, white flowers (1/8″) appear on long stalks at the stem ends or upper leaf axils in late spring. Toothed, broad-ovate, medium to dark green leaves (to 4″ long) are gray and hairy below. Young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in winter.

Genus name comes from keanothos which is an ancient Greek name relating to some plants in the buckthorn family.

Specific epithet means from America, North or South.

Dried leaves were used as a tea substitute, albeit without caffeine, in American Revolutionary War times, hence the common name.