Ceanothus / wild lilac
Common Name: Wild Lilac
The dried leaves of this plant were used to make tea by Native Americans and early pioneers.
Ceanothus is a native, spring-blooming shrub found throughout the United States (except Alaska) and most parts of Canada. It attracts a wide variety of native bees and other pollinating insects. It also serves as a host plant for numerous butterfly species. The flowers which appear in lovely clusters of white, blue or lavender, have a light sweet fragrance, making this plant an excellent choice for many garden settings.
Nationwide, the United States and Canada, with the exception of Alaska, Saskatchewan, and northern Canadian territories
Ceanothus native species, as well as many cultivars of this plant, are routinely available in garden stores and nurseries throughout North America. Ceanothus varieties can be grown easily in most regions of the U.S. and Canada.
Spring, early summer
Average, but has a high tolerance for drought conditions
Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) is a low-growing native shrub (to 3 ft) found in Eastern North America and the Midwest. Its clusters of white blossoms in spring provide a valuable nectar source for a variety of spring bees and other pollinators, and serves as a host plant for several butterfly species. Native bees collect pollen as well as nectar from this plant.
Ceanothus cuneatus (buckbrush) is a native of California and Oregon, and is one of the primary shrub species in the chaparral ecosystem. It is considered a valuable shrub species for pollinator hedgerows, attracting many native bees with its fragrant white to lavender flowers in the early spring. It is also an important nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds. In the wild, buckbrush can grow to 11 ft., however, as a landscaping shrub, numerous lower-growing cultivars and hybrids of Ceanothus cuneatus are available.
Ceanothus impressus (Santa Barbara buckbrush) is a California native with very showy blue-lavender blossoms in early spring. Because of its spectacular show of lavender blooms, many cultivars of this plant have been produced for use in garden settings, including ‘Julia Phelps’ and ‘Dark Star’.