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Ceanothus sanguineus Pursh

Oregon Tea

Modern name

Ceanothus sanguineus Pursh


C. oreganus Nutt.

A deciduous shrub up to 12 ft high; young shoots reddish or purplish, glabrous. Leaves alternate, distinctly three-ribbed, ovate or oval, mostly blunt or rounded at the apex, rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, the margin evenly set with bluntish teeth; 112 to 312 in. long, 34 to 134 in. wide; dark green above, pale and more or less downy beneath; stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Panicles 212 to 412 in. long, 1 in. wide, produced in late spring or early summer from side-buds at the ends of the previous season’s growth. Flowers white, 110 in. wide, each borne on a slender stalk 14 to 12 in. long; main and secondary flower-stalks thinly hairy. Fruit flattened-globose 16 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 5177.

Native of western N. America, where it is widely spread from British Columbia to California. It was first discovered and collected in 1806 by Capt. Lewis, the leader of the first expedition across North America. About twenty years later it was found by David Douglas, who described it as abundant in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and as a shrub 4 to 10 ft high, flowering there in June. It was introduced by Wm Lobb about 1853 to Messrs Veitch’s nursery at Exeter and first flowered with them in May 1859. The epithet sanguineus refers to the red young wood. In general appearance it is most like the eastern N. American species, C. americanus and C. ovatus, but both these differ in producing their flower panicles at and towards the end of the current year’s growths. It is one of the hardier kinds.



Other species in the genus