Ceanothus parvifolius

Littleleaf ceanothus


The Basics

Taxonomy: Kingdom - Plantae (plants). Subkingdom - Tracheobionta (vascular plants). Superdivision - Spermatophyta (seed plants). Division - Magnoliophyta (flowering plants). Class - Magnoliopsida (dicotyledons). Subclass - Rosidae. Order - Rhamnales. Family - Rhamnaceae (buckthorn). Genus - Ceanothus L. Species - Ceanothus parvifolius (S. Watson) Trel.

Ecology: Littleleaf ceanothus is a shade and drought tolerant, nitrogen-fixing shrub that can be found from 1060 - 2080 meters elevation.


Habit: Plant erect, open, generally < 1.5 m. Stem: +- spreading to generally ascending; twigs flexible, not thorn-like, green. Leaf: alternate, deciduous; stipules scale-like; petiole 1--5 mm; blade 8--21 mm, 3--12 mm wide, oblong-elliptic to elliptic, flat, adaxially shiny green, glabrous, abaxially paler, generally glabrous, 1--3-ribbed from base, tip obtuse, margin generally entire.


In the YFDP: Fire top-killed littleleaf ceanothus, but littleleaf ceanothus was one of the first species to colonize following fire, presumably from the soil seed bank.


Inflorescence: raceme- to panicle-like, 4-9 cm.

Flower: blue.

Fruit: 3.5-5 mm wide, sticky; horns 0.

Species Distribution


USDA Plants Database
USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

The Jepson Herbarium
The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California. B.G. Baldwin, D.H. Goldman, D.J. Keil, R. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti, and D.H. Wilken [editors]. 2012. 2nd edition, thoroughly revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Encyclopedia of Life.
Photo credit: NatureServe