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White Coast Ceanothus
Ceanothus verrucosus

About White Coast Ceanothus (Ceanothus verrucosus) Ceanothus verrucosus is a rare species of shrub in the Buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae) known by the common names wart-stem ceanothus, barranca brush, and white coast ceanothus. It is endemic to Baja California and San Diego County, where it grows in coastal chaparral and scrub. Most of the valuable coastal land that hosts this plant in the San Diego area has been claimed for development, but several populations still remain scattered around the region, such as one protected at Torrey Pines. This is an erect shrub approaching 3 meters in maximum height. The evergreen leaves, each up to about 1.5 centimeters long, are alternately arranged on bumpy stems. The flowers are held in a cluster up to 2 centimeters long. The flower is white except for its characteristic dark center. The fruit is a capsule about half a centimeter long.

Ceanothus verrucosus is one of the easier Ceanothus species to grow in southern California. It seems to tolerate summer water slightly better, and tolerates tough drought conditions much better than most other southern California Ceanothus species. But it does best with monthly summer water it's first year, and then left alone after that. It produces a spectacular display of white flowers in the winter. It tends to grow in an attractive fanned-out form, and its leaves stay green and healthy looking even through a long dry summer with no water.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.5 - 10 ft (1.1 - 3 m)

Max. Width
8 ft (2.4 m)

Fountain, Rounded


Growth Rate


Small, rounded, dark green, closely spaced, slightly shiny, tending to be retained even in drought conditions, on notably warty stems

Flower Color
Cream, White

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry hills, mesas, canyons, marine terraces and coastal bluffs, most often found in a subtype of chaparral known as southern maritime chaparral that is found in limited locations on sandstone soils


Elevation ?
3' - 1241'

Annual Precip. ?
9.7" - 34.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.20" - 0.48"

Coldest Month ?
39.9° F - 56.5° F

Hottest Month ?
69.0° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
1.44 vpd - 25.05 vpd

Soil Description
Often but not always found on eroded gabbro or sandstone soils

Soil Texture

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Companion Plants
Torrey Pine, Del Mar Manzanita, Summer Holly, San Diego Sage, Encinitas Baccharis, Del Mar Mesa Sand Aster, Nuttall's Scrub Oak, Bushrue

Wildlife Attracted
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

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Tolerant of normal pruning

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Hot water; then 2-3 mos. stratification may improve germination.

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

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Barranca Brush, Wart-stem 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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