Ceanothus greggii looks similar to Ceanothus fendleri in that it is a shrub with small leaves. The branches on Ceanothus greggii are opposite, while those on Ceanothus fendleri are mostly alternate. The leaves of Ceanothus fendleri are conspicuously three veined from the base, while those of Ceanothus greggi are reticulately veined. The leaves of Ceanothus greggii are pubescent below along the midvein and in tufts. Also, the branches of Ceanothus greggii are not armed like those on Ceanothus fendleri. Ceanothus greggii prefers dry slopes in lower to middle elevations, while Ceanothus fendleri is found higher at middle elevations. Finally, Ceanothus greggii blooms in the early spring, while Ceanothus fendleri blooms in mid-summer.
Christie et al. 2006, Wiggins 1964, Benson and Darrow 1981, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: desert ceanothus Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Intricately branched shrubs 0.5-2 m tall. Bark is gray, while branches are opposite, stiff but not spiny. Leaves: Opposite, petioles only 1-3 mm long, blades narrowly ovate to elliptic or obovate, 5-18 mm long, 3-10 mm wide, entire to dentate, dark green above, paler and distinctly pinnate-veined beneath. Flowers: Infloresence in small umbel-like clusters, clayx lobes about 2 mm long, whitish, petals white slightly longer than the calyx. Fruits: Capsule globose, slightly 3-lobed, 3-5 mm in diameter. Ecology: Grows on dry, rocky slopes, foothills, canyons, gullies and in erosion channels from 3,000-7,000 ft (915-2135 m); flowers March-April. Distribution: s and c CA, s NV, s UT, AZ, s NM, s TX; south to c MEX. Notes: Diagnostic characteristics include its lack of thorns, grayish bark, and opposite branches and leaves that are thick and leathery, and distinctly pinnate veined beneath, as opposed to other Ceonothus that are alternate and with 3 veins joined at the base; this species also flowers in the spring. Host plant for Hedgerow Hairstreak butterfly. Ethnobotany: Important medicinal root for cleansing lymphs and blood. Berries eaten once sweetened with sugar, inner bark also edible. Used for tonsil inflammation, sore throats and enlarged lymph nodes. Etymology: Ceanothus is from the Greek keanothus, which is a name for a spiny plant, while greggii is named after Josiah Gregg (1806-1850), frontier trader and author, who sent many specimens to Dr. George Engelmann in St. Louis from little known areas of the southwest. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015