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Nipomo Mesa Ceanothus Back to Plant Page
Ceanothus impressus var. nipomensis

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About Nipomo Mesa Ceanothus (Ceanothus impressus var. nipomensis) Ceanothus impressus var. nipomoensis is a variety of flowering shrub in the Rhamnaceae (buckthorn) family known by the common name Nipomo Mesa Ceanothus. It is one of two recognized varieties of the species C. impressus. This variety is endemic to the coast of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties where it can be found on coastal slopes and mesas. It is thickly branched with dark brown twigs and stem. The evergreen leaves are about 2 centimeters long and oval shaped, highly ridged and wrinkled and curling under along the edges. They may be gland-dotted and have grayish hairy undersides. The shrub flowers abundantly in clusters of small blue flowers. The fruit is a crested spherical capsule about 4 millimeters wide.

This is a great Ceanothus to grow in its natural range. Significant amounts of summer water will kill this plant. It needs the cool coastal climate and strong marine influence to make it through the hot season, so don't try to grow it south of Ventura County or inland areas. Prefers sun or part shade and sandy soils. Makes a great hedge.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 - 10 ft (0.9 - 3 m)

Max. Width
3 - 15 ft (0.9 - 4.6 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate


Small (about 2cm long), ridged, wrinkled, oval-shaped and curling under the edges. May be grayish and hairy on the underside.

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry, sandy chaparral slopes of the central coast


Elevation ?
83' - 3193'

Annual Precip. ?
14.9" - 20.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 0.31"

Coldest Month ?
45.7° F - 49.7° F

Hottest Month ?
65.1° F - 73.5° F

Humidity ?
0.47 vpd - 22.35 vpd

Soil Description
Sandy soils

Soil Texture
Sand, Sandy Clay, Sandy Clay Loam, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
5 - 7


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10 - 20° F

Wildlife Attracted
Many species of butterflies, bees, other beneficial insects. Plants in the Ceanothus genus are host plants to the Spring Azure, Echo Blue, Pacuvius Duskywing, California Tortoiseshell, Pale Swallowtail, and Hedgerow Hairstreak butterflies.

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Santa Barbara Ceanothus

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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