Ceanothus americanus L. - New Jersey Tea
Family - Rhamnaceae
Stems - To +75cm tall, multiple from base, branching, woody, erect, dense pubescent with a mix of longer and shorter hairs above, puberulent to glabrous below.
Upper portion of stem.
Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petiole to 6mm long, dense pubescent. Blade ovate to oblong-ovate, crenate-serrate, acute, rugose above, soft pubescent, (more so below), to +6cm long, +4cm broad.
Inflorescence - Axillary panicles on long peduncles. Peduncles to 6cm long, dense pubescent, longer than subtending leaf. Panicle to 4cm long(tall), subcylindric. Pedicels white, glabrous, expanded at apex below calyx, to 6mm long.
Flowers - Petals 5, white, spreading, clawed. Claw to 1mm long. Limb cupped or folded, tuberculate externally, .8mm long. Stamens 5, opposite the petals, erect. Filaments to 1mm long, whitish with a purple tinge, glabrous. Anthers purplish. Style .2mm long, 3-lobed. Ovary surrounded by a purple nectary ring, 3-locular. Hypanthium 1mm long, white, persistent in fruit. Calyx lobes inflexed, acute, ciliate margined, 1mm long, deciduous. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule, deep purple to black, 4-5mm broad. Seeds 1 per carpel.
Individual flower close-up.
Flowering - May - November.
Habitat - Prairies, glades, open woods, thickets, railroads.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This is a common and easy to identify plant in Missouri. The showy flower heads are easy to spot from a distance and the fruits are unmistakable.
Photographs taken at the James C. McCormack Conservation Area, Holt County, MO., 6-30-00, and off Hwy 106, Shannon County, MO., 6-6-03.