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Maritime Ceanothus Back to Plant Page
Ceanothus maritimus

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About Maritime Ceanothus (Ceanothus maritimus) Ceanothus maritimus is a rare, narrow endemic species of shrub in the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae) known by the common name Maritime Ceanothus. It is endemic to San Luis Obispo County, California, where it is known from only a few occurrences in the vicinity of Hearst Ranch. It shares the same range as the similarly rare Ceanothus hearstiorum, growing on the coastal bluffs. This species looks unlike other Ceanothus and is said to resemble the non-native Cotoneaster. This is a spreading or ascending shrub under a meter in height with reddish gray bark aging to gray. The firm evergreen leaves are oppositely arranged, each oval or oblong in shape with a pointed, flat, or notched tip. The leaves are under 2 centimeters long, shiny green on top and woolly underneath, with their edges curled under and sometimes toothed. The flower cluster is a small cluster of deep blue to off-white flowers. The fruit is a capsule about 6 millimeters long which is generally rounded with tiny horns on top. This is an attractive, adaptable, long-lived plant that is great for central coastal gardens.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
2 - 3.3 ft (0.6 - 1 m)

Max. Width
3 - 8 ft (0.9 - 2.4 m)

Mounding, Spreading

Fragrant - Pleasant, Slight

Growth Rate


Small, usually about 2 centimeters long, shiny green on top and woolly underneath, with their edges curled under and sometimes toothed

Flower Color
Blue, White, Green

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Slopes and bluffs very near the coast, as part of chaparral or valley grassland, primarily in San Luis Obispo County. However, it is said to do well inland in high shade.

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
20' - 211'

Annual Precip. ?
20.5" - 22.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.32" - 0.36"

Coldest Month ?
49.8° F - 50.8° F

Hottest Month ?
61.7° F - 64.6° F

Humidity ?
1.24 vpd - 10.17 vpd

Soil Description
Normally found on sand sea bluffs, but tolerant of clay or rocky soils. Reported to tolerate high boron soil.

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Saline Soil

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -4° F

Wildlife Attracted
Insects, especially bees and butterflies, are attracted to the flowers. 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
Ease of Care
Very Easy

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

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Tip prune if a compact shape is desired.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water treatment.

Common uses
Groundcovers, Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

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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