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Ceanothus americanus - L.
                 
Common Name New Jersey Tea, Wild Snowball
Family Rhamnaceae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry woods and on gravelly banks[21, 43], often on sandstone or limestone bluffs[159].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to Florida, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Prostrate, Spreading or horizontal.

Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea, Wild Snowball


Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea, Wild Snowball
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceanothus_americanus_001.JPG
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Ceanothus americanus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Tea.

A refreshing and stimulating tea is made from the dried leaves, it is a good substitute for china tea though it does not contain caffeine[2, 21, 43, 46, 95, 159, 161, 183].The leaves are gathered when the plant is in full bloom and are dried in the shade[183].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Expectorant;  Haemostatic;  Hypotensive;  Sedative;  VD.

The roots and root bark of New Jersey tea was used extensively by the North American Indians to treat fevers and problems of the mucous membranes such as catarrh and sore throats[254]. Current day usage of the roots concentrates on their astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic actions and they are employed in the treatment of complaints such as asthma, bronchitis and coughs[254]. The roots and root-bark are antispasmodic, antisyphilitic, strongly astringent (they contain 8% tannin), expectorant, haemostatic and sedative[21, 222]. They have a stimulatory effect on the lymphatic system[238], whilst an alkaloid in the roots is mildly hypotensive[222]. The plant is used internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints including asthma and whooping cough, dysentery, sore throats, tonsillitis, haemorrhoids etc[4, 222, 238]. A decoction of the bark is used as a skin wash for cancer and venereal sores[213]. The powdered bark has been used to dust the sores[213]. The roots are unearthed and partially harvested in the autumn or spring when their red colour is at its deepest. They are dried for later use[238].
Other Uses
Dye;  Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers[168]. A cinnamon-coloured dye is obtained from the whole plant[4]. A red dye is obtained from the root[95, 159]. The flowers are rich in saponins, when crushed and mixed with water they produce an excellent lather which is an effective and gentle soap[168, 169]. They can be used as a body wash (simply rub the wet blossoms over the body) or to clean clothes[K]. The flowers were much used by the North American Indians as a body wash, especially by the women in preparation for marriage, and they leave the skin smelling fragrantly of the flowers[K].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Erosion control, Ground cover, Hedge, Massing, Rock garden. Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade[11, 200]. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk[200]. Another report says that it dislikes alkaline soils, though succeeds in poor dry conditions[238]. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[182]. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil[182]. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. Fast growing, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200, 212]. Special Features:North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 - 3 months stratification at 1°c[138, 200]. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 2 months at 20°c[138]. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 - 120°c for 4 - 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it[214]. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 - 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability[214]. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily[214]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node[200], July/August in a frame[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 7 - 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame[78]. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break[78]. Good percentage.

Books by Plants For A Future

Other Names
Found In
Australia, Canada, North America, USA,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Ceanothus arboreusCatalina Mountain Lilac, Feltleaf ceanothus00
Ceanothus cuneatusBuckbrush, Sedgeleaf buckbrush, Monterey ceanothus21
Ceanothus divergensCropleaf Ceanothus, Calistoga ceanothus00
Ceanothus fendleriFendler's Ceanothus21
Ceanothus impressusSanta Barbara Ceanothus00
Ceanothus integerrimusDeer Brush21
Ceanothus maritimusMaritime Ceanothus00
Ceanothus ovatusSmaller Red-Root21
Ceanothus prostratusSquaw Carpet, Prostrate ceanothus00
Ceanothus purpureusHollyleaf Ceanothus00
Ceanothus sanguineusOregon Tea Tree, Redstem ceanothus21
Ceanothus species 00
Ceanothus thyrsiflorusBlue Brush, Blueblossom00
Ceanothus velutinusSticky Laurel, Snowbrush ceanothus, Hooker's ceanothus22
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
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Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
richard lloreda Wed Feb 9 04:13:31 2005
very good but who authoured the ceanothus?
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Subject : Ceanothus americanus  

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