snowbrush Rhamnaceae Ceanothus
velutinus Douglas ex Hook. symbol: CEVE
Leaf: Alternate, simple, persistent, ovate to ovate-elliptical, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, thick, dark green and shiny above and paler below, margins serrated, 3-veined from the base. Leaves are sticky and have a sickeningly sweet odor when rubbed or when weather is warm.
Flower: Perfect and complete small white flowers borne in large, dense clusters up to 5 inches long (giving rise to the name snowbrush).
Fruit: Small, 3-lobed, rounded capsule up to 3/16 inch in diameter, occur in clusters; tiny dark seeds with very hard seed coats; need to be heated by fire in order to germinate.
Twig: Stout, smooth, and green in color.
Bark: Grayish brown and smooth.
Form: An erect, often sprawling, evergreen shrub up to 10 feet tall with stout, green branches. Often forms thickets from basal sprouts.
Looks like: whitethorn ceanothus - blueblossom - redstem ceanothus - deerbrush
Additional Range Information: Ceanothus velutinus is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting snowbrush.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson