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New Jersey Tea, Jersey Tea, Jersey-Tea Ceanothus, Redroot, Wild Snowball, Spangles, Walpole-tea, Wild Pepper, Mountain-sweet, Mountain-tea Bohea
Ceanothus americanus


Ceanothus americanus is a small, spreading shrub with herbaceous stems and a woody base, found in sandy open woods and dry prairies in the Eastern U.S. through the eastern half of Texas. White flowers are clustered in dense panicles at the ends of branches in spring, followed by a 3-lobed fruit. The dark green, alternate, ovoid leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and from 3/4 to 2 inches wide. Cold hardy from zones 4 through 8, New Jersey tea is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, including dry and difficult sites, as long as it has good drainage. Its massive, twisted red roots can be 6 to 8 inches in diameter, and sometimes produce tough, enlarged, burl-like rootstocks called "grubs" near the surface of the soil. The roots have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. They have been used to make a red dye, and during the American Revolution the leaves were considered the best substitute for English tea. New Jersey tea was introduced into cultivation in 1713, and has been used as a parent of many hybrids grown in west coast gardens and in Europe.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: partial sun

Flower Color: white

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: capsule

Height: 2 to 4 feet

Width: 2 to 5 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: medium

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4

Additional Comments:

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