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Buck Brush
Ceanothus cuneatus
About Buck Brush (Ceanothus cuneatus) Nurseries Show All Photos Ceanothus cuneatus is a species of flowering shrub in the Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn) family known by the common names Buckbrush and Wedgeleaf Ceanothus. This Ceanothus is native to Oregon, California, and northern Baja California, where it can be found in a number of habitats, especially chaparral. It is one of the most common and widespread native plants in California. It is a spreading bush, rounded to sprawling, reaching up to 3 meters in height. The evergreen leaves are stiff, tough and fleshy, and may be slightly toothed along the edges. The bush flowers abundantly in short, thick-stalked racemes bearing rounded bunches of tiny flowers, each about half a centimeter wide. The flowers are white, sometimes tinted strongly with blue or lavender. The fruit is round capsule with horns. It is about half a centimeter wide and contains three shiny dark seeds which are dispersed when the capsule explodes and propels them some distance. Harvester ants have been known to cache the seeds, which can lie dormant for a long time since fire is required for germination. This plant may be variable in appearance due to its wide distribution and because it hybridizes easily with similar species. There are three recognized varieties; var. fascicularis is a rare plant restricted to the Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo coast.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
5 - 12 ft (1.5 - 3.7 m)

Max. Width
5 - 12 ft (1.5 - 3.7 m)

Upright, Rounded, Spreading

Fragrant - Pleasant

Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate


The evergreen leaves are stiff and somewhat tough and fleshy, and may be slightly toothed along the edges

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry fans, slopes, ridges


Elevation ?
-14' - 9002'

Annual Precip. ?
5.2" - 151.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 5.94"

Coldest Month ?
29.4° F - 55.7° F

Hottest Month ?
47.2° F - 80.8° F

Humidity ?
0.09 vpd - 30.56 vpd

Soil Description
Variable, but needs fast drainage

Soil PH
6 - 8

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -10 - 0° 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
Moderately Easy

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

Seldom Used

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

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water and 3 mos. stratification. Alternative treatment: boil in water 1 min.; then, instead of stratification, soak in 400 ppm GA, 13 hrs.; air dry 4 days; soak in 3% thiourea 5 mins. Seeds may then be sown or dried again and stored. In this quick treatment gave 41% germination for Ceanothus cuneatus. (Adams et al. 1961).

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

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Buckbrush, Wedgeleaf 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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