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Ceanothus prostratus
About Pinemat (Ceanothus prostratus) Nurseries Show All Photos Ceanothus prostratus is a species of shrub in the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae) known by the common names prostrate ceanothus and mahala mat. It is native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States, into northern California and Nevada, where it grows in coniferous forest and open plateau. This is a flat, mat-forming shrub growing 6 inches tall up to about 8 ft. wide. The evergreen leaves are oppositely arranged, oval in shape with several large, sharp teeth along the edges. The upper surface is green and hairless, and the underside is paler in color and feltlike in texture. The flower cluster is a small cluster of deep blue or purple flowers. The fruit is a wrinkled capsule one half to one centimeter long.

Ceanothus prostratus grows in the understory of mixed conifer forests, from foothills to subalpine areas. It also inhabits open flats and ridges in areas of low chaparral as well as dry interior forest ecosystems. It can be found from elevations ranging between 1,000 and 9,000 ft. It is notoriously difficult to grow due to unknown factors.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.6 - 7.2 in (9.1 - 18.3 cm)

Max. Width
3 - 6 ft (0.9 - 1.8 m)

Spreading, Mounding


Growth Rate
Fast, Slow


Leaves are oppositely arranged and generally oval in shape with 3-9 sharp teeth along the margins.

Flower Color
Purple, Blue, Green

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Open flats,

Part Shade, Sun

Elevation ?
140' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
5.2" - 151.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.38" - 5.65"

Coldest Month ?
7.3° F - 51.1° F

Hottest Month ?
31.0° F - 80.8° F

Humidity ?
0.26 vpd - 24.42 vpd

Soil Description
Soil requirements are unclear

Soil PH
5 - 7

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

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 16, 18

Companion Plants
Usually found in the wild with various evergreen, coniferous trees

Wildlife Attracted
Bees, butterflies, other 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
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

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

Moderately Popular, 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 3.5 mos. stratification (2.5 mos. may be sufficient ). Boiling in water 1/2 minute, cooling immediately, then 156 days stratification may give better germination (USDA Forest Service 1974); or 30 mins. in concentrated H2 S04 then 2 mos. stratification (Heit 1971).

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

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Mahala Mat, Mahala-mats, Prostrate Ceanothus, Squaw-carpet, Squawcarpet

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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