Ceanothus integerrimus

Botanical Name : Ceanothus integerrimus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. integerrimus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Dear Brush

Habitat : Ceanothus integerrimus is native to Western N. America – Washington to California. It grows on dry slopes and ridges in pine and mixed evergreen forests, 300 – 2000 metres.

Description:
Ceanothus integerrimus is a deciduous shrub from 1–4 metres (3.3–13.1 ft) tall with an open ascending to erect branch habit.   It is a drought-tolerant phanerophyte. Nitrogen-fixing actinomycete bacteria form root nodules on Ceanothus roots. Its stems are round yellow to pale green in color with either small soft to straight stiff sharp hairs parallel to or in contact with the surface of the stem,.

The leaves are glossy, deciduous and 2.5–8 cm long. Leaves grow alternately on stems. The leaf petioles are less than 15 mm in length and the stipules are also deciduous. The leaf blade is lanceolate, elliptical or oblong to widely ovate in shape. Leaves can have one to two ribs from the base; they are also generally thin and have an acute to obtuse tip. Leaf margins are either entire or slightly dentate, more so towards the leaf tip. Leaf surfaces are light green and are ciliate or contain hairs visible only by magnification. The lower leaves are also hairy and lighter in color.

The flowers are white or blue and rarely pink in color. They are produced in raceme clusters of 15 centimeters or less and contain both male and female organs. The fruit is a sticky valved capsule about 4–5 mm in diameter with a slight crest; the seed is ejected from the capsule after splitting.

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It regenerates by seed, shoot formation from the crown and stem, and also by layering when branches come in contact with soil. It has been suggested that some Ceanothus species do not resprout from the root after the crown has burned as a result of fire where most other species are able to regenerate. Pollination of flowers is primarily by bees.

Seed production occurs after about four years of age. High densities of seeds occur in the upper soil of Ceanothus communities. Seeds remain viable up to 24 years or more. Seed dormancy is broken by the removal of the seed coat by fire scarification or physical disturbance. Seeds germinate best at about 1 inch soil depth in shady areas in the spring following fire scarification.

Varieties:
There are four weakly defined varieties of Ceanothus integerrimus. Identification is primarily by leaf morphology and flower color.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. californicus. Leaves elliptic, lanceolate or oblong to ovate in shape and are three ribbed, from the leaf base. Leaf surfaces have small hairs and the undersides are less hairy than the surface. Flowers generally white or blue.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. integerrimus.

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*Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus. Leaf blades oblong or ovate. Leaf bases are three ribbed at the base. Leaf surfaces are pubescent on both the surface and undersides. Flowers are white.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. puberulus. Leaf blades elliptical or lanceolate and oblong to obovate in shape. Leaf base is three ribbed from the leaf base. Leaves are also pubescent on both sides. Flowers white…….CLICK & SEE

Ceanothus integerrimus hybridizes with Ceanothus tomentosus (Lemmon’s ceanothus) and Ceanothus cordulatus (mountain whitethorn).
Cultivation:
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. Requires a well-drained soil. This species is hardy to about -10°c according to some reports whilst another says that it requires a sheltered position or the protection of a wall when grown outdoors in Britain. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring. Fast growing but short lived, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 – 3 months stratification at 1°c. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 2 months at 20°c. Another report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 – 120°c for 4 – 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it. It then requires a period of chilling below 5°c for up to 84 days before it will germinate. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 – 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node,   July/August in a frame[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 7 – 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break. Good percentage.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Seed – raw or cooked. Used as pinole.
Medicinal Uses: The plant has been used by some native North American Indian tribes to treat women who have suffered injury in childbirth.

Other Uses:
Basketry; Dye; Miscellany; Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. Young flexible shoots can be used for the circular withes of baskets. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins.

C. integerrimus is an important part of forest regeneration after wildfires by providing nitrogen. It does this by creating nitrogen rich patches in the soil. The nitrogen source is created by its root association with nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Deer and specifically mule deer feed on C. integerrimus. Porcupines and quail have also been observed eating the stems and seeds. Nutritionally leaves are a good source of protein and stems and leaves also contain high levels of calcium. However, nutritional quality of leaves is seasonal and appears to be best from fall to early spring.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceanothus_integerrimus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceanothus+integerrimus

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