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Ceanothus sanguineus
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Redstem Ceanothus
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Ceanothus sanguineus

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About Redstem Ceanothus (Ceanothus sanguineus) Ceanothus sanguineus is a species of shrub in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae known by the common name redstem ceanothus. It is native to western North America from British Columbia to Montana to far northern California; it is also known from Michigan. It grows in temperate coniferous forest habitat in forest openings amidst the conifers. This is an erect shrub approaching 3 meters in maximum height. Its stem is red to purple in color, its woody parts green and hairless when new. The deciduous leaves are alternately arranged and up to about 10 centimeters long. They are thin, light green, oval, and generally edged with hairy teeth. The undersides are sometimes hairy. The flower cluster is a cluster of white flowers up to about 12 centimeters long. The fruit is a three-lobed smooth capsule about 4 millimeters long. This shrub is an important food plant for wild ungulates such as the Rocky Mountain Elk, it is browsed eagerly by many types of livestock, and the seed is consumed by many types of animals. Like many other Ceanothus, this species requires wildfire for reproduction and proliferation; its seeds are activated by heat and the plant is intolerant of the shade produced by an overgrown forest.
Plant Description
Plant Type

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

Max. Width
10 ft (3.0 m)


Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry floor

Part Shade

Elevation ?
2439' - 5739'

Annual Precip. ?
20.4" - 81.3"

Summer Precip. ?
1.39" - 3.38"

Coldest Month ?
37.1° F - 41.4° F

Hottest Month ?
56.2° F - 66.3° F

Humidity ?
1.82 vpd - 18.71 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy or loamy soils. Does not grow well in clay soils.

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.0

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

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 7

Wildlife Attracted
Birds and butterflies. 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
Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water and 3 mos. stratification.

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

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never 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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