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Vascular Plants of California
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Key to Ceanothus

View taxon page for Ceanothus

(For a list of species in Ceanothus, use the above link.)

Jepson Manual glossary definitions can be seen by moving your cursor over words underlined with dots.

1. Stipules knob-like, corky, thick, bases persistentleaves generally  (generally  in Ceanothus megacarpus var. megacarpus, Ceanothus verrucosus), clustered or not; inflorescence generally umbel-like (subg. Cerastes)

2. Leaves generally alternate

3. Leaf  10–25 mm, 5–12 mm wide, length generally > 2 × width,  to widely oblanceolate, margin fruit 7–12 mm wide ..... C. megacarpus var. megacarpus

3' Leaf blade 5–14 mm, 3–10 mm wide, length generally < 2 × width, widely obovate to round, margin entire or teeth ± sharp; fruit 4–6 mm wide ..... C. verrucosus

2' Leaves generally opposite, occasionally clustered

4. Plant mat- to mound-like, generally < 1 m; stems , ± , occasionally arched, rooting at  or not

5. Leaf margin generally entire, occasionally ± 3–5-toothed distally

6. Leaf blade 8–20 mm, gray-tomentose abaxially, margin thick or ± rolled under; CCo (nw San Luis Obispo Co.), < 60 m ..... C. maritimus

6' Leaf blade generally 4–12 mm, ± glabrous to  abaxially, margin not thick, ± not rolled under; KR, n NCoR, n&c SN, > 260 m

7. Leaves generally clustered, generally  ..... C. roderickii (2)

7' Leaves ± evenly spaced, generally not clustered, spreading to ascending

8. Plant generally mound-like, generally 0.3–1 m, stems not rooting at nodes; twigs brown to gray-brown ..... C. arcuatus

8' Plant mat-like, < 0.3 m, stems rooting at nodes; twigs generally red-brown ..... C. fresnensis

5' Leaf blade margin 2–35-toothed

9. Leaf blade generally wide-elliptic or -obovate or round, length generally < 2 × width;, margin 5–35-toothed

10. Twigs generally not angled; flowers white to pale blue or blue-lavender

11. Leaf blade 10–20 mm; fruit 6–9 mm wide; horns 1–2 mm, wrinkled; KR (Trinity Mtns), s SNH (Kern Plateau), 1050–2750 m ..... C. pinetorum

11' Leaf blade 4–10 mm; fruit 4–6 mm wide; horns < 1 mm, smooth; CCo, < 400 m ..... C. rigidus (2)

10' Twigs generally angled distally; flowers blue to blue-purple ..... C. gloriosus

12. Plant < 0.3 m; stems generally spreading;  blade 23–31 mm, margin 13–35-toothed ..... var. gloriosus

12' Plant < 0.5 m; stems spreading to ± ascending; leaf blade 10–21 mm, margin 9–19-toothed ..... var. porrectus

9' Leaf blade generally elliptic to obovate or oblanceolate, length generally > 2 × width; margin 2–11-toothed

13. Leaf blade 2–6 mm wide, margin 0–5-toothed distally

14. Leaves not clustered, spreading, tips generally , margin generally 2–3-toothed; KR, NCoR ..... C. pumilus

14' Leaves generally clustered, generally erect, tips  to ± notched, margin 0–5-toothed; n SNF (w El Dorado Co.) ..... C. roderickii (2)

13' Leaf blade 4–16 mm wide, margin generally 2–11-toothed distally

15. Leaf blade generally not ± wavy, generally not ± folded lengthwise; fruit 6–9 mm wide, horns 1–2 mm, thick, wrinkled (slender in Ceanothus prostratus var. occidentalis) ..... C. prostratus

16. Plant mound-like; leaf blade ± folded lengthwise, concave adaxially, teeth 5–9, in distal 1/2; fruit horns spreading ..... var. occidentalis

16' Plant generally mat-like; leaf blade ± not folded lengthwise, not concave adaxially, teeth 3–5(7), in distal 2/3; fruit horns erect ..... var. prostratus

15' Leaf blade generally ± wavy or ± folded; fruit 4–6 mm wide, horns 1.5–2.5 mm, ± slender, smooth

17. Plant mound-like, 0.2–0.5 m, stems spreading to ± ascending, occasionally rooting at nodes ..... C. confusus

17' Plant erect to mound-like, 0.5–1.5 m, stems ascending to ± erect, generally not rooting at nodes ..... C. divergens (2)

4' Plant generally erect, 1–4+ m; stems ascending to erect, occasionally intricately branched, not rooting at nodes

18. Leaf blade ± wavy to ± folded lengthwise, margin teeth spine-like

19. Leaf blade elliptic to narrowly obovate ..... C. divergens (2)

19' Leaf blade widely elliptic to ± round

20. Leaves ± spreading, margin 3–5-toothed ..... C. sonomensis

20' Leaves generally , margin 7–15-toothed

21. Sepalspetals 6–8 ..... C. jepsonii

21' Sepals, petals 5

22. Fruit horns slender; flowers dark blue to purple; volcanic substrates ..... C. purpureus

22' Fruit horns bulge-like to lacking; flowers light blue to white, sometimes pink; serpentine substrates ..... C. decornutus

18' Leaf blade generally flat or convex to concave adaxially, margin entire or teeth ± sharp, not spine-like

23. Leaf blade densely  abaxially, veins obscure, margin generally rolled under ..... C. crassifolius var. crassifolius

23' Leaf blade generally glabrous to strigose or  abaxially (sparsely tomentose in Ceanothus crassifolius var. planus, ± tomentose in Ceanothus otayensis), veins generally evident, margin not rolled under (except Ceanothus otayensis)

24. Leaf margin generally entire, or teeth < 5, unevenly distributed

25. Leaf blade 3–7 mm, 1–3 mm wide, narrow-oblanceolate to -obovate; inflorescence generally < 1 cm; flowers generally pale blue, occasionally ± pink ..... C. ophiochilus

25' Leaf blade 5–30 mm, 3–19 mm wide, elliptic, oblanceolate, obovate, or ± round; inflorescence generally 1–2 cm; flowers generally white (pale blue to lavender in some Ceanothus cuneatus)

26. Flower disk dark; fruit 5–12 mm wide

27. Leaf tip obtuse to rounded; fruit 5–9 mm wide; s SCoRO, WTR (Santa Barbara, Ventura cos.) ..... C. crassifolius var. planus

27' Leaf tip truncate to ± notched; fruit 7–12 mm wide; ChI ..... C. megacarpus var. insularis

26' Flower disk generally not dark, white to pale blue or lavender; fruit 3–6 mm wide

28. Twigs generally dense-puberulent to short-tomentose, pale gray to ± white; leaf blade short-curly-puberulent abaxially ..... C. pauciflorus (2)

28' Twigs generally glabrous to ± puberulent, generally brown to gray-brown, leaf blade glabrous to ± strigose abaxially ..... C. cuneatus

29. Flower generally white; twigs generally gray-brown; leaf blade tip  to ± rounded ..... var. cuneatus

29' Flower generally blue to lavender; twigs generally brown; leaf blade tip truncate to notched

30. Leaves at nodes and in  clusters,  leaves widely obovate, clustered leaves oblanceolate to narrowly obovate ..... var. fascicularis

30' Leaves at nodes, blades widely obovate to ± round ..... var. ramulosus

24' Leaf margin generally  to ± , teeth generally 5–35 (occasionally < 5 in Ceanothus pauciflorus), ± evenly distributed, or in distal 1/2, occasionally minute

31. Twigs generally angled, especially distally

32. Leaf blade 13–45 mm, widely obovate to ± round, margin 13–35-toothed ..... C. gloriosus var. exaltatus

32' Leaf blade 7–21 mm, obovate to narrowly obovate, margin 9–17-toothed ..... C. masonii

31' Twigs generally not angled

33. Leaf blade generally 10–25+ mm

34. Leaf blade dark green, obovate to widely elliptic; fruit 6–9 mm wide, ± wrinkled, horns 1–2 mm; se SnFrB (Santa Clara Co.) ..... C. ferrisiae

34' Leaf blade green to yellow-green, widely elliptic to ± round; fruit 3–5 mm wide, generally smooth or ± 3-bulged distally, horns < 1 mm or 0; e TR, PR ..... C. perplexans

33' Leaf blade generally <= 12 mm (except some Ceanothus pauciflorus 5–20 mm)

35. Leaf blade ± tomentose abaxially, glabrous in age, veins obscure, margin thick or rolled under – s PR (Otay, San Miguel mtns) ..... C. otayensis

35' Leaf blade glabrous to short-strigose or short-curly-puberulent abaxially, occasionally glabrous in age, veins evident, margin generally not rolled under, occasionally thick

36. Flowers generally blue to lavender (white), leaf tip rounded to truncate, margin entire or 5–9-toothed ..... C. rigidus (2)

36' Flowers generally white; leaf tip generally acute to obtuse, margin entire or 3–5-toothed ..... C. pauciflorus (2)

1' Stipules scale-like, thin, deciduous; leaves alternate; inflorescence generally raceme- to panicle-, occasionally ± umbel-like (subg. Ceanothus)

37. Twigs rigid, generally thorn-like

38. Leaf blade 1-ribbed from base, shiny green adaxially; twigs green ..... C. spinosus (2)

38' Leaf blade 3-ribbed from base, dull green adaxially; twigs pale gray to gray-green

39. Plant generally < 1.5 m; stems generally spreading; inflorescence 1–4 cm, generally  ..... C. cordulatus

39' Plant generally 1.5–4 m; stems ascending to erect; inflorescence 3–15 cm, generally stalked

40. Leaf blade wide-elliptic to -ovate, 20–50+ mm, 10–45 mm wide; fruit coarse-wrinkled when dry ..... C. incanus (2)

40' Leaf blade elliptic to , 12–30 mm, 3–15 mm wide; fruit smooth to ± wrinkled when dry ..... C. leucodermis

37' Twigs flexible, not thorn-like

41. Leaf blade generally 1-ribbed from base

42. Plant mat- to mound-like, generally < 0.5 m; stem spreading to ascending

43. Leaf margin rolled under; blade tomentose abaxially, tip truncate to notched ..... C. hearstiorum

43' Leaf margin not rolled under; blade glabrous, puberulent, or short-wavy-hairy abaxially, tip acute to ± rounded

44. Petiole 1–3 mm; leaf blade ± wavy, ± folded lengthwise, glabrous abaxially except veins; margin entire to few-toothed distally ..... C. foliosus var. vineatus

44' Petiole 3–11 mm; leaf blade generally not ± wavy, not ± folded lengthwise, puberulent to tomentose abaxially; margin 27–45-toothed

45. Plant generally mat-like, generally < 0.3 m, rooting at nodes; inflorescences on short, erect twigs; twigs green, occasionally tinged red ..... C. diversifolius (2)

45' Plant erect to mound-like, 0.5–1 m, not rooting at nodes; inflorescences not on short, erect twigs; twigs pale green to gray-green ..... C. lemmonii (3)

42' Plant generally erect, occasionally tree-like, > 0.5 m (occasionally mound-like in Ceanothus papillosus); stem ascending to erect

46. Leaf blade margin thick or rolled under

47. Leaf blade widely ovate to ± round, furrowed along veins adaxially, tip acute to obtuse ..... C. impressus

48. Leaf blade 5–14 mm; plant 0.5–1.5 m, generally dense ..... var. impressus

48' Leaf blade 11–25 mm; plant 1–3 m, generally open ..... var. nipomensis

47' Leaf blade ±  or narrowly elliptic, not furrowed adaxially, tip truncate to notched

49. Plant generally 0.5–1.5 m; leaf blade 4–16 mm, 2–8 mm wide, not glandular-papillate adaxially, glandular-papillate near margin ..... C. dentatus

49' Plant 1–3.5 m; leaf blade 11–50 mm, 6–15 mm wide, glandular-papillate adaxially and on margin ..... C. papillosus

46' Leaf blade margin generally not thick, generally not rolled under (partly rolled under in Ceanothus parryi)

50. Leaf margin generally gland-toothed, glands generally dark, ± persistent

51. Leaf margin ± rolled under, especially below middle, occasionally minutely glandular; blade cobwebby to loose-tomentose abaxially ..... C. parryi (2)

51' Leaf margin entire or minutely gland-toothed; blade glabrous to puberulent abaxially

52. Twigs pale green to gray-green;  3–6 mm; leaf blade flat ..... C. lemmonii (3)

52' Twigs green to red-green; petiole 1–3 mm; leaf blade generally wavy, ± folded lengthwise ..... C. foliosus (2)

53. Leaf blade ± glabrous to sparsely puberulent abaxially; plants ± open ..... var. foliosus (2)

53' Leaf blade densely short-wavy-hairy abaxially; plants ± dense ..... var. medius (2)

50' Leaf margin generally entire (or minutely gland-toothed, glands not dark, not persistent)

54. Plant generally < 1.5 m, stems ± spreading to generally ascending; leaf blade tip obtuse; inflorescence 4–9 cm, raceme- to panicle-like; SNH ..... C. parvifolius (2)

54' Plant generally 1–6 m, occasionally tree-like, stems ascending to erect; leaf blade tip acute to obtuse; inflorescence 4–21 cm, generally panicle-like; not SNH

55. Flowers blue to pale blue; leaf blade generally dark shiny green adaxially – s SCoRO, WTR, PR ..... C. spinosus (2)

55' Flowers white; leaf blade generally dull to light green adaxially, occasionally shiny

56. Leaf blade elliptic to ± oblong, thin; fruit 4–6.5 mm wide; sw SnFrB (Santa Cruz Mtns) ..... C. integerrimus var. integerrimus

56' Leaf blade elliptic to oblong-ovate, ± thick; fruit 6–9 mm wide; n&c SNF, s SCoR, TR, PR ..... C. palmeri

41' Leaf blade generally 3-ribbed from base

57. Leaf margin entire (minutely toothed)

58. Main stem generally ascending to ± spreading; leaf blade 3–12 mm wide, shiny green adaxially ..... C. parvifolius (2)

58' Main stem ascending to erect; leaf blade 10–45 mm wide, dull green adaxially

59. Twigs rigid, pale gray to gray-green; leaf blade abaxially gray-green, strigose; fruit wrinkled ..... C. incanus (2)

59' Twigs flexible, generally green; leaf blade abaxially pale green, glabrous to sparsely short-hairy, especially veins; fruit smooth to bulged or ± 3-ridged distally ..... C. integerrimus var. macrothyrsus

57' Leaf margin minutely toothed or serrate, teeth generally gland-tipped

60. Leaf blade generally tomentose abaxially, veins ± obscured by hairs

61. Leaf blade 25–80 mm, thick, leathery; petiole 10–25 mm; ChI ..... C. arboreus (2)

61' Leaf blade 10–25 mm, generally thin, not leathery; petiole 1–3 mm; mainland ..... C. tomentosus

60' Leaf blade ± glabrous to puberulent or short-wavy-hairy abaxially, veins not obscured by hairs

62. Leaf blade generally 25–80 mm, 13–60 mm wide, generally widely elliptic to ovate

63. Flowers generally blue; fruit 5–8 mm wide, black; ChI ..... C. arboreus (2)

63' Flowers white; fruit 3–4.5 mm wide, brown; mainland

64. Leaf deciduous, not aromatic; blade thin, not leathery, not sticky adaxially ..... C. sanguineus

64' Leaf evergreen, aromatic; blade leathery, ± sticky adaxially ..... C. velutinus

62' Leaf blade generally 5–45 mm, 3–25 mm wide, elliptic, oblong-elliptic, oblanceolate (ovate)

65. Plant mat- to mound-like, generally < 1 m; stems ± ascending to spreading

66. Twigs angled distally; leaf blade abaxial veins ± raised ..... C. thyrsiflorus (2)

67. Twigs ± puberulent; leaf blade ovate to widely elliptic, margin rolled under ..... var. griseus (2)

67' Twigs ± glabrous; leaf blade oblong-ovate to elliptic, margin not to partly rolled under ..... var. thyrsiflorus (2)

66' Twigs not angled distally; leaf blade abaxial veins ± not raised

68. Plant generally mat-like, generally < 0.3 m; stem rooting at nodes; twigs green, occasionally tinged red; fruit 4–5 mm wide ..... C. diversifolius (2)

68' Plant ± mound-like, generally > 0.5 m, stem not rooting at nodes; twigs pale green to gray-green; fruit 3–4 mm wide ..... C. lemmonii (3)

65' Plant not mat- to mound-like, generally 1–4 m; stems ascending to erect

69. Twigs generally angled distally,  ridged

70. Leaf blade ± oblong to narrowly elliptic, length generally > 2 × width, cobwebby to loose-tomentose abaxially, glabrous in age ..... C. parryi (2)

70' Leaf blade generally ovate to elliptic, length generally < 2 × width, glabrous to ± puberulent abaxially, especially on veins

71. Inflorescence 5–30 cm; twigs ; leaf blade abaxial veins ± not raised ..... C. cyaneus

71' Inflorescence 1.5–7 cm; twigs not papillate; leaf blade abaxial veins ± raised ..... C. thyrsiflorus (2)

72. Twigs ± puberulent; leaf blade ovate to widely elliptic, margin rolled under ..... var. griseus (2)

72' Twigs ± glabrous; leaf blade oblong-ovate to elliptic, margin not to partly rolled under ..... var. thyrsiflorus (2)

69' Twigs not angled distally, internodes not ridged

73. Leaf blade flat or generally wavy, ± folded lengthwise; petiole 1–3 mm; fruit 3–4 mm wide ..... C. foliosus (2)

74. Leaf blade glabrous to sparsely puberulent abaxially; plant ± open ..... var. foliosus (2)

74' Leaf blade densely short-wavy-hairy abaxially; plant ± dense ..... var. medius (2)

73' Leaf blade generally flat; petiole 3–7 mm; fruit 4–7 mm wide ..... C. oliganthus

75. Flower disk, ovary short-hairy; fruit prominently wrinkled ..... var. orcuttii

75' Flower disk, ovary glabrous; fruit generally smooth or ± ridged to bulged near top

76. Twigs puberulent; leaf blade short-hairy adaxially ..... var. oliganthus

76' Twigs ± glabrous; leaf blade glabrous to sparsely short-hairy adaxially ..... var. sorediatus

 

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