Ceanothus greggii

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Ceanothus greggii
Ceanothus greggii 4.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. greggii
Binomial name
Ceanothus greggii

Ceanothus greggii, with the common name desert ceanothus, is a species of shrub in the buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae.


Ceanothus greggii bush on mountainside at 7,000 ft (2,100 m)

It is native to the Southwestern United States, California, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico. It grows in desert scrub, sagebrush, chaparral, and other dry habitats such as inland mountai slopes, at elevations of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) to 2,300 m (7,500 ft) .[1]

It was named for its collector Josiah Gregg, who found the plant in 1847 at the site of the Battle of Buena Vista in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico during the Mexican-American War by Asa Gray of Harvard University in 1853. [2]


Ceanothus greggii is a many-branched shrub that grows erect to nearly 2 m (6.6 ft) in maximum height. Its woody parts are gray in color and somewhat woolly. Branches are opposite and rigid.[1]

The evergreen leaves are oppositely arranged, 2 to 9mm long, and variable in shape, with a prominent midvein. They may be toothed or smooth along the edges, and are indeed usually somewhat cupped (see top image).[1]

The inflorescence is a small (less than 2cm long) cluster of many white flower, on short lateral branchess. It blooms in spring.[2][1] Blooms are considered highly fragrant. [3]

The fruit is a horned capsule a few millimeters wide which bursts explosively to expel the three seeds which require thermal scarification from wildfire before they can germinate.[4]


This shrub is eagerly browsed by livestock and wild ungulates such as mule deer and desert bighorn sheep.[4]


Varieties include: [5] [6]

  • Ceanothus greggii var. franklinii — desert ceanothus, endemic to Grand and San Juan Counties, Utah. [7]
  • Ceanothus greggii var. greggii — desert ceanothus
  • Ceanothus greggii var. perplexans — Gregg's ceanothus
  • Ceanothus greggii var. vestitus — Mojave ceanothus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d John D. Stuart, John O. Sawyer, Andrea J. Pickart (2001). Trees and Shrubs of California. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22110-9. 
  2. ^ a b Blakely, Larry, Desert Ceanothus, Ceanothus greggii A. Gray var. vestitus (E. Greene) McMinn (Rhamnaceae), Who's in a Name? People Commemorated in Eastern Sierra Plant Names
  3. ^ http://www.fireflyforest.com/flowers/2786/ceanothus-greggii-desert-ceanothus/
  4. ^ a b Forest Service Fire Ecology
  5. ^ USDA: Subordinate taxa of Ceanothus greggii
  6. ^ ITIS Standard Report Page: Ceanothus greggii
  7. ^ S.L. Welsh. New taxa and new nomenclatural combinations in the Utah flora. Rhodora. volume 95. 1993. [1]

External links[edit]

Media related to Ceanothus greggii at Wikimedia Commons