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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Rhamnaceae

13. Ceanothus cordulatus Kellogg, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 2: 124, fig. 39. 1863.

Mountain whitethorn Mountain whitethorn

Shrubs, evergreen, 0.5–1.5 m. Stems ascending to spreading, not rooting at nodes; branchlets yellowish or grayish green, glaucescent, thorn-tipped, round in cross section, rigid, puberulent, glabrescent. Leaves: petiole 2–8 mm; blade flat to cupped, ovate to elliptic, 10–30 × 6–18 mm, base rounded, margins usually entire, sometimes minutely glandular-denticulate distally, glands 18–30, apex obtuse, abaxial surface pale grayish green, sparsely puberulent or glabrous, sometimes villosulous along veins, adaxial surface pale green to grayish green, glaucous, dull, glabrate; 3-veined from base. Inflorescences axillary, umbel-like or racemelike, sometimes densely clustered, 1.2–2(–4) cm. Flowers: sepals, petals, and nectary usually white, rarely pink. Capsules 3.5–5 mm wide, lobed; valves rugose, viscid when young, weakly crested. 2n = 24.

Flowering May–Jul. Rocky ridges and slopes, chaparral, conifer and mixed evergreen forests; 400–3400 m; Calif., Nev., Oreg.; Mexico (Baja California).

Ceanothus cordulatus is one of the most common shrubs in montane chaparral and forests of the Coast Ranges and Cascades of southern Oregon and northern California, southward through the Sierra Nevada, Transverse and Peninsular ranges of California, to the mountains of northern Baja California, and occurs disjunctly in the Charleston Mountains of Nevada.

Putative hybrids between Ceanothus cordulatus and C. velutinus var. velutinus, reported from the Klamath Mountains, the southern Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, have been called C. ×lorenzenii (Jepson) McMinn. A rare intersectional hybrid between C. cordulatus and C. prostratus in the Lake Tahoe basin has been named C. ×serrulatus McMinn. Putative hybrids of C. cordulatus with C. diversifolius and C. integerrimus also have been reported (H. McMinn 1944).


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