narrow-leaved New Jersey tea

(Ceanothus herbaceus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

narrow-leaved New Jersey tea



N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed




Uncommon and local

          Photo by Luciearl

Moderately dry to dry. Prairies, savannas, hillsides, open woodlands, roadsides. Full or partial sun. Sandy or rocky soil.


Early June to early July

Flower Color



24 to 40


Narrow-leaved New Jersey tea is a 24 to 40 tall, bushy, deciduous shrub that rises on one or more stems from a stout taproot and a large root system. It sometimes forms clumps but seldom forms colonies. In the United States it occurs in the northeastern tier of states from Vermont and Virginia west to Minnesota and Illinois, and in the Great Plains and Midwest from Iowa and Arkansas west to Montana and New Mexico. In occurs in southern Canada from Quebec to Manitoba. It is found in prairies, savannas, hillsides, and open woodlands, and on roadsides. It grows under full sun in sandy or rocky soil. It is uncommon and local in Minnesota.

The stems are erect or curving up from the base (ascending) and much branched. They do not root at the nodes. The bark is grayish-brown. Branches are ascending, flexible, and round in cross section. They are not thorn-tipped. First year branches are green to brownish-green and are densely covered with minute, more or less appressed hairs. Older branches are brown or reddish and minutely hairy, eventually becoming hairless or almost hairless.

The leaves are alternate, 1 to 2¾ (25 to 70 mm) long, and to 1316 (10 to 30 mm) wide. They are on hairy, 116 to ¼ (2 to 6 mm) long stalks (petioles). The leaf blades are herbaceous, not leathery, not resinous, and not aromatic. They are usually narrowly oval (elliptic) to lance-shaped, sometimes egg-shaped or inversely lance-shaped. They are wedge-shaped or rounded at the base and narrowly or broadly pointed at the tip. There are three main veins arising from the base of the blade, a midvein and a pair of secondary veins that are as prominent and sometimes as long as the midvein. The upper surface is dark green, dull, and usually sparsely to moderately covered with short, cobwebby hairs, rarely hairless. The lower surface is pale green and moderately to densely covered with short hairs, rarely hairless. The margins have 20 to 75 or more rounded, gland-tipped teeth per side. The leaves will shrivel and discolor in dry conditions but fully recover after a rain.

The inflorescence is an umbrella-like, globe-shaped to half globe-shaped, 1916 to 3 (4 to 8 cm) in diameter cluster of flowers at the ends of the main branchlets of the current years growth. The stalk of the inflorescence is usually shorter than the subtending leaf.

Each flower is about ¼ wide. There are 5 outer floral leaves (sepals), 5 petals, and 5 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are white, triangular, curved inward, and 164 to 132 (0.5 to 1.0 mm) long. The petals are white, spoon-shaped, widely spreading, and 116 to (1.5 to 2.5 mm) long. The stamens have white stalks (filaments) and usually dark anthers. The style is white and has 3 lobes.

The fruit is a capsule-like, modified drupe with 3 lobes. Mature fruits are black and to 3 16 (4 to 5 mm) in diameter.



Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 24, 28, 29, 30.





Rhamnaceae (buckthorn)





Ceanothus herbaceus var. pubescens

Ceanothus ovatus

Ceanothus ovatus var. pubescens

Ceanothus pubescens


inland ceanothus

Jersey tea

narrow-leaved New Jersey tea

prairie redroot













Curving upward from the base.



A fleshy fruit with usually a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach; a stone fruit.



Narrowly oval, broadest at the middle, narrower at both ends, with the ends being equal.



On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Extending nearly horizontal.

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This appears to be a new plant I have not seen before. Growing in the ditch near my woods.

  narrow-leaved New Jersey tea   narrow-leaved New Jersey tea Photos






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Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

This appears to be a new plant I have not seen before. Growing in the ditch near my woods.

narrow-leaved New Jersey tea







Created: 7/23/2020

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