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Common Names: Buckbrush, Sedgeleaf buckbrush, Monterey ceanothus
Habitat : Ceanothus cuneatus is native to South-western N. America – Oregon to California and Mexico. It grows on the dry slopes below 1800 metres in California.While this shrub has a wide distribution in its range, certain varieties of the species are limited to small areas. The Monterey ceanothus (var. rigida), for example, is found only between the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area and San Luis Obispo County.
Ceanothus cuneatus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) at a fast rate.It is a spreading bush, rounded to sprawling, reaching up to three meters in height. The evergreen leaves are stiff and somewhat tough and may be slightly toothed along the edges. The bush flowers abundantly in short, thick-stalked racemes bearing rounded bunches of tiny flowers, each about half a centimeter wide.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
The flowers are white, sometimes tinted strongly with blue or lavender. The fruit is round capsule with horns. It is about half a centimeter wide and contains three shiny dark seeds which are dispersed when the capsule explodes and propels them some distance. Harvester ants have been known to cache the seeds, which can lie dormant for a long time since fire is required for germination. This plant may be variable in appearance because it hybridizes easily with similar species.
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Prefers a light soil with a low lime content. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. 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. Plants flower on the previous year’s growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life. A fast-growing plant, 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.
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 in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. One 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. 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. 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 Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.
Seed. No more details are given. The leaves and flowers make an excellent tea when steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes.
Astringent; Digestive; Hepatic; Pectoral; Tonic.
Astringent, digestive, pectoral, tonic. A liver tonic.
A green dye is obtained from the flowers. A red dye is obtained from the root. The stems have been used as rods in basket making. 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.
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.
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