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New Jersey Tea, Wild Snowball, Mountain Sweet, Redroot - Ceanothus americanus


Family: Rhamnaceae – Buckthorn family Genus Common Name: Ceanothus Native Status: Native
Ceanothus americanus - New Jersey Tea, Wild Snowball, Mountain Sweet, Redroot. There are around 55 to 65 species in Ceanothus, all in North America, but only 3 are found east of the Mississippi. Those three are the species presented on this page - New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) and Jersey Tea (Ceanothus herbaceus), both of which are fairly widespread on both sides of the Mississippi, and Littleleaf Buckbrush (Ceanothus microphyllus), which is found only in southern Alabama, southern Georgia, and in Florida. Most of the other Ceanothus species are endemic to California. Ceanothus americanus is a shrub found in every state east and nine states west of the Mississippi River. It is Threatened in Maine.

The leaves of the plant can be dried and used to make a tea which was a common substitute for Chinese tea during the American Revolutionary period when imported tea had such high tax rates.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

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Distribution of Ceanothus americanus in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 Jan 2017). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Nickajack Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-15Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The tiny white flowers are in oval to cylindrical inflorescences which grow only on new growth. The have a mild, sweet fragrance.
Ceanothus americanus

Site: Nickajack Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-15Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
New Jersey Tea is a shrub that grows in open woods and roadsides to around 3 feet tall. It dies partly back over the winter, and only the new growth each year will have flowers.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ceanothus americanus

Site: Nickajack Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-15Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The tiny blossoms have 5 wide-spreading petals, each of which are around .05 inches long.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ceanothus americanus

Site: Nickajack Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-15Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The alternate leaves are ovate with serrate edges and a rounded base. It is on a short petiole. The leaves are up to 3 inches long, and have 3 main veins from the base.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ceanothus americanus

Site: Nickajack Road, Walker County, GA Date: 2013-June-15Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The serrated leaves have glandular tooth-tips.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ceanothus americanus

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer