Ceanothus americanus

Common name: New Jersey Tea

Native plant

One of a few true prairie shrubs left in Illinois, found almost exclusively in prairie remnants and open savannas. Its white flowers brighten the grassy expanses from late June to early August and can really bring in the pollinators. Needs full sun and well-drained soils to get best results in growth. Wet ground is not recommended. Though not a legume, it does fix nitrogen in nodules in the roots, adding nutrients to the soil. New Jersey Tea can be used as a fine tea, by using the leaves and flowers. In the past, it was also used to make a red dye, which was made by crushing the roots. We recommend that you add wire protection from rabbits and others for the first year.


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Woodies- Standard Shrub
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Plant Details

Plant type


Soil type

Dry, Dry Mesic

Light exposure

Eastern Exposure / Morning Sun, Full Sun

Bloom period


Urban environment

Uncompacted Urban Soils, Requires Protected Site


Prairie Grasslands, Savannas

Growth form

Shrubby/Clump, Ground cover

Growth rate


Flower color


Fall color



Mature height
2 Feet
Mature width
2 Feet
Max height
4 Feet
Max width
6 Feet

Additional information

Butterfly host plant Pollinator hot spot Nitrogen fixer

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