New Jersey Tea Ceanothus americanus
Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn)
Branching: Alternate

This is a low (knee height) shrub that often grows in open sandy woods.  It grows in clumps of several shoots and sometimes covers an area of a square meter.  It is woody, but the tops of the individual stalks often die off, leaving a two-toned colour (yellowish on the base, and dark brown on top).  The stalks left when the fruit fall off are also distinctive

The buds of New Jersey-tea are hairy and light-coloured

Winter twig of New Jersey Tea.  Notice the change in colouration at the top of the twig
where it dies back slightly.

Lateral bud of New Jersey Tea

Lateral bud and leaf scar

Winter twig of New Jersey Tea.  This hard bulbous end is common.

The retained bases where the fruits grew are often retained through the winter and
are typically quite obvious at the top of the plant.

New Jersey Tea tends to grow in small clumps

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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