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New Jersey Tea Ceanothus americanus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
say-an-OH-thus ah-mer-ih-KAY-nus
Description

New Jersey Tea is a deciduous shrub that is native to eastern and central North America and is found in all areas of NC. Its native habitat is open, deciduous woods, woodland edges, oak savannas and meadows. It is low growing with a rounded crown and typically grows to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. In early summer it is covered with fragrant clusters of creamy white flowers. 

New Jersy Tea grows best in well-drained sandy loam or rocky soils in full sun to partial shade. It is drought tolerant once established and tolerates road salt. 

Because of its deep root system, it is great for use in erosion control on slopes but this also makes it difficult to transplant. Use this shrub in foundations, as a specimen, shrub borders, native plantings or in groupings.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  The New Jersey tea is susceptible to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Prone to root rot in wet soils and canker disease.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#hummingbirds#deciduous#drought tolerant#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#showy#moths#nectar plant#native shrub#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#erosion control#showy stems#specialized bees#food source#NC native#multistemmed#insect pest tolerant#cream flowers#nighttime garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#NC Native Pollinator Plant#summmer flowers#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterflies#pollinators#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#hummingbirds#deciduous#drought tolerant#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#showy#moths#nectar plant#native shrub#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#erosion control#showy stems#specialized bees#food source#NC native#multistemmed#insect pest tolerant#cream flowers#nighttime garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#NC Native Pollinator Plant#summmer flowers#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterflies#pollinators#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ceanothus
    Species:
    americanus
    Family:
    Rhamnaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used it as a tea to treat respiratory tract infections.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada to Central U.S.A., NC
    Distribution:
    USA: 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 Canada: MB , NB , ON , QC
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for Mottled Duskywing, Spring Azure, Summer Azure butterflies.  Flowers are highly attractive to butterflies, bees, moths, predatory wasps and other insects.  Its seeds are eaten by songbirds. Members of the genus Ceanothus support the following specialized bees: Pseudopanurgus pauper and Pseudopanurgus virginicus.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape. Heat and drought tolerant.
    Edibility:
    Tea can be made from the dried leaves.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    3-lobed seed capsules up to ¼" across. They start out green-red mature to dark brown or black and split open to eject 3 seeds several feet. Fruit displays from June to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    2-5 inch long panicles of 1/8 inch fragrant, 5-petaled, creamy-white flowers appear on terminal branches or in the upper leaf axils from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    3-4 inch long by 2 inches wide broad-ovate, to oblong-ovate leaves have cordate bases and pointed tips. Margins are smooth to finely serrate. The upper surface is medium to dark green with minute stiff hairs and has a wrinkled appearance along the veins. The lower leaf surface is pale green and pubescent (hairy). They are alternate, simple and turn yellow to tan in the fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Bark Description:
    Brown with shallow pits.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are light green to light yellow, terete, and pubescent becoming woody with age
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Predatory Insects
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Urban Conditions