PLANT: Shrubs, unarmed, 1 to 3 m tall. STEMS: erect, green-brown to gray at maturity. LEAVES: alternate, deciduous; petioles 1-2 cm long; blades broadly elliptic to ovate or oblong, 2-8 cm long, 1-5 cm wide, dark green above, light green below, often pubescent; margins entire. INFLORESCENCE: of axillary clusters, 3-15 flowers per cluster, usually exceeding the leaves. FLOWERS: white to dark blue. FRUITS: 3-5 mm wide NOTES: 2-3 varieties; WA, OR, CA, AZ, NM; n Mex. REFERENCES: Kyle Christie, Michael Currie, Laura Smith Davis, Mar-Elise Hill, Suzanne Neal, and Tina Ayers, 2006 Vascular Plants of Arizona: Rhamnaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 23-46.
Christie et al. 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: deerbrush Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Unarmed erect shrub 1-3 m tall, bark gray to brown at maturity. Leaves: Alternate and deciduous, on petiole 1-2 cm long, palmately 3-nerved, 3-6 cm long, glabrous and dark green above, lighter in color with sparsely pilose veins beneath, lighter in color on the underside, broadly elliptic to ovate, entire. Flowers: Inflorescence of small white (sometimes dark blue), flowers in racemose, axillary clusters, greatly surpassing the leaves, 3-15 flowers per cluster. Fruits: Small, globose, light green berries 3-5 mm wide. Ecology: Often found in shady areas on rocky slopes, in chaparral, woodlands, and open forest, from 3,500-7,000 ft (1067-2134 m); flowers May-October. Distribution: Ranges north to Canada and south into northern Mexico. Notes: This species is notable for its lack of thorns and is distinctive among the Ceanothus for the size of its leaves, which are generally the largest in the genus. Ethnobotany: Plant was used as medicine to aid women injured in childbirth. Seeds eaten as a pinole, and plant eaten by deer. Flexible shoots used to make baskets. This species was reportedly used as a tonic and the flowers form a lather in water. Etymology: Ceanothus is from the Greek keanothus, which is a name for a spiny plant, integerrimus means with a smooth edge, undivided. Synonyms: Numerous, see Tropicos Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011