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Ceanothus velutinus - Douglas. ex Hook.                
                 
Common Name Sticky Laurel, Snowbrush ceanothus, Hooker's ceanothus
Family Rhamnaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist soils of hills and mountains to 2,600 metres[212]. It often occurs in draws and on the open face of hills, becoming rapidly established on burnt-over mountain slopes[212].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to Colorado and California.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Ceanothus velutinus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained 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.

Ceanothus velutinus Sticky Laurel,  Snowbrush ceanothus, Hooker


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ceanothusvelutinus.jpg
Ceanothus velutinus Sticky Laurel,  Snowbrush ceanothus, Hooker
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Tea.

The leaves are used as a tea substitute[177, 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.

Analgesic;  Antirheumatic;  Febrifuge;  Poultice;  Skin.

The leaves are febrifuge[257]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and fevers[257]. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used both internally and externally in the treatment of dull pains, rheumatism etc[257]. The leaves contain saponins and have been used as a skin wash that is also deodorant and can destroy some parasites[257, K]. The wash is beneficial in treating sores, eczema, nappy rash etc[257].
Other Uses
Baby care;  Dye;  Insecticide;  Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers[168]. A poultice of the dried powdered leaves has been used as a baby powder for treating nappy rash etc[257]. Smoke from burning the plant has been used as an insecticide to kill bedbugs[257]. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins - when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap[168, 169, 212]. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc[K] The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin[K]. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins[K].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade[11, 200]. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk[200]. One report says that this species is hardy to zone 5 (tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c)[200] whilst another says that it needs the protection of a wall when grown outdoors in Britain[1]. 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]. Plants flower on the previous year's growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering has finished[200, 219]. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life[200]. Fast growing, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. The leaves have a strong scent of balsam[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].
                                                                                 
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 within 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]. It then requires a period of chilling below 5°c for up to 84 days before it will germinate[214]. Seeds have considerable longevity, some that have been in the soil for 200 years or more have germinated[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.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Douglas. ex Hook.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1171200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[138]Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 3.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[169]Buchanan. R. A Weavers Garden.
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[212]Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers
Excellent little pocket guide to the area, covering 590 species and often giving details of their uses.
[214]Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994.
A quarterly magazine, it has articles on Himalayacalamus hookerianus, hardy Euphorbias and an excellent article on Hippophae spp.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Terry H.
Jun 24 2013 12:00AM
Known in the Pacific Northwest USA as Snowbrush, Tobacco Brush or Varnish-leaf. The sticky leaves of this shrub are very aromatic and were used as pipe tobacco by Oregon pioneers (my grandfather included). Black-tail deer also forage on the leaves of this shrub. Terry L Howes tlhowes@gmail.com
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