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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

RHAMNACEAE

BUCKTHORN FAMILY

John O. Sawyer, Jr. (except Ceanothus)

Shrub, vine, tree, generally erect, often thorny
Leaves simple, generally alternate, often clustered on short-shoots, generally petioled, generally stipuled; blade often 1–3-ribbed from base
Inflorescence: cyme, panicle, or flowers solitary in axils
Flower generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium subtending, surrounding, or partly fused to ovary; sepals 4 or 5; petals 0, 4, or 5, clawed; stamens 4 or 5, alternate sepals, attached to hypanthium top, each generally fitting into a petal concavity; ovary superior or partly inferior, chambers 2–5, each 1–2-ovuled, style lobes or parts 1–3
Fruit: capsule, drupe
Genera in family: 55 genera, 900 species: especially tropical, subtropical; some cultivated (Ceanothus ; Colletia , anchor-plant; Gouania ; Phylica ; Rhamnus ; Ventilago ; Ziziphus )
Reference: [Brizicky 1965 J Arnold Arbor 45:439–463]

CEANOTHUS

CALIFORNIA-LILAC

Clifford L. Schmidt

Shrub, small tree, prostrate to erect, thorny or not
Stem: branches generally arranged as leaves
Leaves alternate or opposite, deciduous or evergreen, petioled; blade 1–3-ribbed from base, margin entire or not
Inflorescence: generally panicle-like aggregations of umbel-like, 3-flowered clusters
Flower generally < 5 mm; hypanthium surrounding fleshy disk below ovary base, in fruit thick, not splitting; sepals generally 5, lanceolate-deltate, incurved, colored like petals, persistent; petals generally 5, hooded, white to deep blue; stamens generally 5, opposite petals; ovary superior, 3-lobed, chambers 3, each 1-ovuled, style parts 3
Fruit: capsule, ± spheric, 3-valved
Seeds 3, ± 3 mm, 1 surface convex
Species in genus: 45 species: North America, especially w
Etymology: (Greek: thorny plant)
Reference: [Rensselaer & McMinn 1942 Ceanothus Santa Barbara Bot Gard 1–308]
Hybridization common (named hybrids not recognized here); hybrid forms may not key adequately.

Native

C. crassifolius Torr.

HOARYLEAF CEANOTHUS

Plant erect, open, < 3.5 m
Stem: twigs round, white- to rusty-tomentose, becoming gray to brown
Leaves opposite, evergreen, < 3 cm; stipules persistent; petiole 2–6 mm; blade ± ovate, 1-ribbed from base, firm, tip obtuse, margin turned under or not, generally with few shallow teeth, upper surface olive-green, glabrous, minutely rough, lower canescent to tomentose
Inflorescence raceme-like, < 3 cm
Flower white
Fruit 6–8 mm; horns on shoulder; ridges 0
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Dry ridges, slopes
Elevation: < 1100 m.
Bioregional distribution: Outer South Coast Ranges (Santa Barbara Co.), Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges
Distribution outside California: n Baja California
Less hairy plants with ± flat leaf margins in n of range have been called var. planus Abrams; plants < 1 m, with upper leaf surface tomentose in Otay Mtns, San Diego Co., may be hybrid, C. X otayensis McMinn
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; STBL.

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