Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: capsule, root crown, shrub, top-kill

This description covers characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. Keys for identification are available (e.g., [31,59]).

Deer brush is a native, drought-deciduous shrub reaching 3 to 18 feet (1-6 m) in height at maturity. It is loosely branched and spreading in form. Flowers are borne in compound clusters. The fruit is a sticky capsule containing small, obovoid seeds [31,59]. Nitrogen-fixing actinomycetes form nodules in deer brush roots [17,25].

Deer brush stems, excluding the root crown, live about 35 years. The stem of one specimen has been aged at 47 years. Maximum age attained by roots and root crowns has not been determined, but life span of these organs can be more than 35 years if periodic top-kill occurs [22].

  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 31. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 17. Bormann, Bernard T. 1988. A masterful scheme: Symbiotic nitrogen-fixing plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Arboretum Bulletin. 51(2): 10-14. [6796]
  • 22. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 25. Fessenden, R. J. 1979. Use of actinorrhizal plants for land reclamation and amenity planting in the U.S.A. and Canada. In: Gordon, J. C.; Wheeler, C. T.; Perry, D. A., eds. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the management of temperate forests: Proceedings of a workshop; 1979 April 2-5; Corvallis, OR. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Forest Research Laboratory: 403-419. [4308]

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Type Information

Isolectotype for Ceanothus integerrimus var. puberulus Greene
Catalog Number: US 613402
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): L. Abrams & E. A. McGregor
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: San Bernardino Mountains, Clighorn Canyon., San Bernardino, California, United States, North America
Elevation (m): 1372 to 1372
  • Isolectotype: Greene, E. L. 1908. Bull. New York Bot. Gard. 6: 409.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

Deer brush grows on well-drained soils of all textures [22]. Slope varies from gentle to steep [15]. In California, deer brush occurs primarily on the west slope of the Cascade-Sierra Nevada crest [22,33]. In Oregon, deer brush occurs on both sides of the Cascade Range [80].

Elevational ranges of deer brush are as follows:

Arizona                          3,500 to 7,000 feet (1,100-2,100 m) [40]
northern California          2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m) [22,64]
central Sierra Nevada     3,000 to 5,550 feet (900-1,700 m)
southern California          5,000 to 7,000 feet (1,500-2,100 m) [22]
Oregon                           2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m)
Washington                     2,000 to 4,000 feet (600-1,200 m) [64]
  • 22. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 40. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 15. Biswell, Harold H. 1974. Effects of fire on chaparral. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 321-364. [14542]
  • 33. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756]
  • 64. Reed, Merton J. 1974. Ceanothus L. ceanothus. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 284-290. [7576]
  • 80. Topik, Christopher; Hemstrom, Miles A., comps. 1982. Guide to common forest-zone plants: Willamette, Mt. Hood, and Siuslaw National Forests. R6-Ecol 101-1982. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 95 p. [3234]

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General Ecology

Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: natural, shrubs, tree, wildfire

Deer brush grows in open sun to partial shade. When overtopped by trees, deer brush dies out [22,30,74]. It is typically successional after fire, landslide, logging, mining, or other stand-replacing events [7,22,33]. Deer brush seedlings establish in the initial postdisturbance community. If fire or other disturbance is frequent enough to prevent conifers from establishing a canopy, deer brush and other shrubs may occupy a site indefinitely [7]. A shrubfield containing deer brush, on the Tahoe National Forest, has a history of wildfire occurrence at approximate 10-year intervals. The shrubfield has remained stable for over 100 years [86]. More often, deer brush is replaced by conifers [7,22]. In montane chaparral, herbs, deer brush, and other shrubs are replaced by pines (Pinus spp.). In the absence of fire, pines are replaced by firs (Abies spp.) and other shade-tolerant tree species [30,76]. On the Klamath National Forest of California, Stuart and others [72] identified two seral communities in which deer brush was an important component of the vegetation after stand-replacing events in old-growth Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). After wildfire and no subsequent salvage operation, a deer brush-canyon live oak-blue wildrye (Quercus chrysolepis-Elymus glaucus) community developed. After wildfire followed by salvage, or logging followed by site preparation and planting of Douglas-fir seedlings, a tanoak-Pacific madrone-(Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii)-deer brush community developed. The authors speculated that with either successional pathway, natural release of Douglas-fir would not occur for at least 50 years, but the long-term fertility of the deer brush-canyon live oak-blue wildrye community may be greater because nitrogen-fixing deer brush is the primary dominant.
  • 22. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 7. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 30. Hanes, Ted L. 1977. California chaparral. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley and Sons: 417-469. [7216]
  • 33. Holland, Robert F. 1986. Preliminary descriptions of the terrestrial natural communities of California. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Fish and Game. 156 p. [12756]
  • 72. Stuart, John D.; Grifantini, Michael C.; Fox, Lawrence, III. 1993. Early successional pathways following wildfire and subsequent silvicultural treatment in Douglas-fir/hardwood forests, nw California. Forest Science. 39(3): 561-572. [22064]
  • 74. Sweeney, James R. 1968. Ecology of some "fire type" vegetation in northern California. In: Proceedings, California Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1967 November 9-10; Hoberg, CA. No. 7. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 111-125. [6573]
  • 76. Talley, Steven N.; Griffin, James R. 1980. Fire ecology of a montane pine forest, Junipero Serra Peak, California. Madrono. 27: 49-60. [4788]
  • 86. Wilken, Gene C. 1967. History and fire record of a timberland brush field in the Sierra Nevada of California. Ecology. 48(2): 302-304. [11399]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: capsule, charate, duff, root crown, top-kill

Deer brush reproduces from seed and by sprouting from the root crown and/or stem [22]. It occasionally layers where branches contact soil [14].

Seed reproduction: Deer brush first produces seed at about 4 years of age [21]. Ripe seed is forcibly ejected from the capsule when the capsule dries and splits [64]. Deer brush is a seed banking species. Seed is stored in extremely high densities in duff and the upper few centimeters of mineral soil. Anderson [4] estimated that the deer brush seed population in a mixed coniferous forest in northern California was greater than 2 million seeds per hectare. Viability of the seed averaged 90.6 percent in the laboratory [4]. Similarly, Kauffman and Martin [37,38] reported a range of 60 to 90 percent viability of deer brush seed from three northern California mixed-conifer forests. Viability of deer brush seed is generally high, and the seed is long-lived. Quick and Quick [62] reported 90 percent viability of 24-year-old seed. Other researchers have suggested that deer brush seed remains viable for well over 100 years [4,22,62].

Seed is dormant until the hard seedcoat is scarified by fire or mechanical disturbance such as logging [19,22]. Optimal temperatures for scarification range from 170 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit (77-90 deg C) [39]. High-consumptive fire (> 90% of duff burned) kills most seed in duff, but most seed in mineral soil survives. Anderson [4] found that following one high-consumptive fire, 12.5 percent of seed in duff and 52.4 percent of seed in mineral soil was viable. Seed requires stratification follow scarification, and usually germinates in spring [39]. Keeley [41] reported that light inhibited germination, an unusual response, and that charate (charred wood powder) had no effect on germination.

Best establishment occurs with seed in bare mineral soil [7,22]. In a greenhouse study, seeds planted at one-half inch (1 cm) when in shade and at 1 inch (2.5 cm) when in sun showed better seedling emergence than seeds planted at greater or lesser depths. Emergence did not occur with seeds planted on the soil surface [1]. Nearly all seedling establishment occurs in the first postfire spring; establishment after the second postfire year is rare [22]. Plants typically average 3 to 4 inches (8-18 cm) in height at the end of their first growing season and 8 inches (20 cm) in height at the end of the second growing season [21,22,77].

Vegetative reproduction: Sprouts grow more rapidly than seedlings, reaching a height of 30 or more inches (76 cm) in their first year [22]. Age at which deer brush sprouts first produce seed is undocumented; however, sprouts of most Ceanothus species produce seed after 3 to 6 years [21]. When deer brush plants are top-killed before they become decadent, roots remain alive, and root crowns retain the ability to sprout for years beyond the 35-year life expectancy of other stem tissue. Without periodic top-kill, root systems and root crowns of decadent plants die [22].

  • 1. Adams, Lowell. 1962. Planting depths for seeds of three species of Ceanothus. Res. Note PSW-194. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 3 p. [6356]
  • 21. Conard, Susan G.; Jaramillo, Annabelle E.; Cromack, Kermit, Jr.; Rose, Sharon, compilers. 1985. The role of the genus Ceanothus in western forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-182. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 72 p. [668]
  • 22. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 7. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 37. Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, R. E. 1985. A preliminary investigation on the feasibility of preharvest prescribed burning for shrub control. In: Proceedings, 6th annual forestry vegetation management conference; 1984 November 1-2; Redding, CA. Redding, CA: Forest Vegetation Management Conference: 89-114. [7526]
  • 38. Kauffman, J. Boone; Martin, Robert E. 1985. Shrub and hardwood response to prescribed burning with varying season, weather, and fuel moisture. In: Donoghue, Linda R.; Martin, Robert E., eds. Weather--the drive train connecting the solar engine to forest ecosystems: Proceedings, 8th conference on fire and forest meteorology; 1985 April 29-May 2; Detroit, MI. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 279-286. [9796]
  • 39. Kauffman, John Boone. 1986. The ecological response of the shrub component to prescribed burning in mixed conifer ecosystems. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 235 p. Dissertation. [19559]
  • 64. Reed, Merton J. 1974. Ceanothus L. ceanothus. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 284-290. [7576]
  • 4. Anderson, John Melvin. 1985. Effects of prescribed burning on shrub seed stored in the duff and soil of a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 39 p. Thesis. [28337]
  • 14. Biswell, H. H.; Gilman, J. H. 1961. Brush management in relation to fire and other environmental factors on the Tehama deer winter range. California Fish and Game. 47(4): 357-389. [6275]
  • 19. Burcham, L. T. 1974. Fire and chaparral before European settlement. In: Rosenthal, Murray, ed. Symposium on living with the chaparral: Proceedings; 1973 March 30-31; Riverside, CA. San Francisco, CA: The Sierra Club: 101-120. [4669]
  • 41. Keeley, Jon E. 1987. Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology. 68(2): 434-443. [5403]
  • 62. Quick, Clarence R.; Quick, Alice S. 1961. Germination of ceanothus seeds. Madrono. 16: 23-30. [4134]
  • 77. Tappeiner, John C., II. 1981. Estimating potential hardwoods and shrub cover and plantation development. In: Hobbs, S. D; Helgerson, O. T., eds. Reforestation of skeletal soils: Proceedings of a workshop; 1981 November 17-19; Medford, OR. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Forest Research Laboratory: 97-101. [7151]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Raunkiaer [63] life form:
Phanerophyte
  • 63. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Deer brush flowers from spring to early fall [31,40,59]. Heaviest flowering occurs in May and June [73], with seeds dispersing in summer [41]. Since deer brush is drought-deciduous, most leaves are shed in summer. A few leaves are usually retained throughout winter [21,31].
  • 59. Munz, Philip A.; Keck, David D. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 31. Hickman, James C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1400 p. [21992]
  • 21. Conard, Susan G.; Jaramillo, Annabelle E.; Cromack, Kermit, Jr.; Rose, Sharon, compilers. 1985. The role of the genus Ceanothus in western forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-182. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 72 p. [668]
  • 40. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2nd ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563]
  • 73. Stubbendieck, James; Hatch, Stephan L.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1992. North American range plants. 4th ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 493 p. [25162]
  • 41. Keeley, Jon E. 1987. Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology. 68(2): 434-443. [5403]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ceanothus integerrimus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ceanothus integerrimus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Information on state- and province-level protection status of plants in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: restoration, shrubs

Deer brush is recommended for use on restoration projects due to its nitrogen-fixing ability [25]. Transplanting wild 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old shrubs has been successful in the Sierra Nevada [13]. Growing stock from seed has shown good results, although seed requires several months of pregermination treatment. Reed [64] has compiled procedures for germinating seed in the laboratory.
  • 13. Biswell, H. H. 1960. Prescribed burning and other methods of deer range improvement in ponderosa pine in California. In: Proceedings, annual meeting of the Society of American Foresters; 1959 November 15-19; San Francisco, CA. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 102-105. [5269]
  • 25. Fessenden, R. J. 1979. Use of actinorrhizal plants for land reclamation and amenity planting in the U.S.A. and Canada. In: Gordon, J. C.; Wheeler, C. T.; Perry, D. A., eds. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in the management of temperate forests: Proceedings of a workshop; 1979 April 2-5; Corvallis, OR. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Forest Research Laboratory: 403-419. [4308]
  • 64. Reed, Merton J. 1974. Ceanothus L. ceanothus. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 284-290. [7576]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, shrub

Deer brush provides high-quality, palatable, and often abundant forage for livestock and wildlife, especially deer [1,22,66]. On Arizona chaparral of the Tonto National Forest, deer brush was one of three principle browse species used by white-tailed deer in fall [51]. In California, deer brush is the most important summer browse species for mule deer and livestock in the ponderosa pine belt. Mule deer also make moderate to heavy use of it on California's winter ranges [22,49].

Porcupine browse deer brush stems. Gambel quail have been observed eating large quantities of the seed [13].

Palatability and nutritional value: Deer brush is highly palatable to ungulates [66,73].

Deer brush leaves are high in protein, and calcium levels are high in both leaves and twigs. However, based on the nutritional standard for lactating cows, deer brush provides inadequate levels of phosphorus and digestible energy. Overall, browse quality decreases from late spring to late summer. On the Sierra National Forest, nutritional quality of deer brush browse varied significantly by year, but not by shrub age or degree of overstory canopy closure. Average nutritional content of deer brush, collected every 2 weeks from June 1 to September 8, 1982 and 1983, follows. Data are means (standard errors) [43].

Variable Year  Leaves  Twigs
Neutral-detergent fiber (%) 1982 33.66 (1.92) 65.48*(2.25)
  1983 25.38 (1.39) 53.17*(1.05)
Acid-detergent fiber (%) 1982 19.85*(1.71) 48.42*(2.02)
  1983 14.65*(0.89) 38.95*(0.88)
In-vitro digestible dry matter  1982 53.93*(3.64) 33.49 (1.70)
  1983 63.60*(1.38) 35.14 (1.40)
Digestible energy (kcal/g) 1982 2.42*(0.18)  1.48 (0.08)
  1983 2.93*(0.06) 1.56 (0.06)
Crude protein (%) 1982 18.15*(0.43) 8.22*(0.34)
  1983 16.92*(0.30) 7.77*(0.23)
Calcium (%)  1982 3.66*(0.47) 1.27*(0.10)
  1983 2.33*(0.10)  1.07*(0.05)
Phosphorus (%) 1982 0.18 (0.01) 0.16*(0.01)
  1983 0.19 (0.01)  0.12*(0.01)
*Significant (P<0.05) difference with respect to year of collection.

Average protein content of deer brush collected from various California locations varied seasonally as follows [11]:

April August October
25.2 %  13.7 % 8.9 %

Cover value: No information was available on this topic as of 1997.

  • 1. Adams, Lowell. 1962. Planting depths for seeds of three species of Ceanothus. Res. Note PSW-194. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 3 p. [6356]
  • 11. Bissell, Harold D.; Strong, Helen. 1955. The crude protein variations in the browse diet of California deer. California Fish and Game. 41(2): 145-155. [10524]
  • 13. Biswell, H. H. 1960. Prescribed burning and other methods of deer range improvement in ponderosa pine in California. In: Proceedings, annual meeting of the Society of American Foresters; 1959 November 15-19; San Francisco, CA. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 102-105. [5269]
  • 22. Cronemiller, Fred P. 1959. The life history of deerbrush-a fire type. Journal of Range Management. 12: 21-25. [4811]
  • 43. Kie, John G. 1986. Nutritive quality of Ceanothus shrubs in California mixed conifer forest. Journal of Range Management. 39(6): 521-526. [4071]
  • 49. Leach, Howard R.; Hiehle, Jack L. 1956. Food habits of the Tehama deer herd. California Fish and Game. 43: 161-178. [6874]
  • 51. McCulloch, Clay Y. 1973. Part I: Seasonal diets of mule and white-tailed deer. In: Deer nutrition in Arizona chaparral and desert habitats. Special Report No. 3: Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act Project W-78-R. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Research Division: 1-37. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. [9894]
  • 66. Sampson, Arthur W.; Jespersen, Beryl S. 1963. California range brushlands and browse plants. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences; California Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service. 162 p. [3240]
  • 73. Stubbendieck, James; Hatch, Stephan L.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1992. North American range plants. 4th ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 493 p. [25162]

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Other uses and values

Deer brush has attractive white, lilac, or pink flowers and is planted as an ornamental [47]. It is also a valuable honey plant [73].

Miwok Indians of California made baskets from deer brush branches [5].

  • 73. Stubbendieck, James; Hatch, Stephan L.; Butterfield, Charles H. 1992. North American range plants. 4th ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 493 p. [25162]
  • 5. Anderson, Kat. 1991. Wild plant management: cross-cultural examples of the small farmers of Jaumave, Mexico, and the southern Miwok of the Yosemite region. Arid Lands Newsletter. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies. 31: 18-23. [17350]
  • 47. Kruckeberg, A. R. 1982. Gardening with native plants of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 252 p. [9980]

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Wikipedia

Ceanothus integerrimus

Ceanothus integerrimus (deer brush) is a woody shrub in the family Rhamnaceae, native to the western United States, in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon, and Washington. It grows in montane chaparral and woodlands regions, in hardwood forests, and in fir, spruce, and Ponderosa pine plant communities, being most abundant in the California chaparral and woodlands and Sierra Nevada.[1][2]

Description[edit]

Ceanothus integerrimus is a deciduous shrub from 1–4 metres (3.3–13.1 ft) tall with an open ascending to erect branch habit.[2] It is a drought-tolerant phanerophyte. Nitrogen-fixing actinomycete bacteria form root nodules on Ceanothus roots.[3][4] Its stems are round yellow to pale green in color with either small soft to straight stiff sharp hairs parallel to or in contact with the surface of the stem,.[2][5]

The leaves are glossy, deciduous and 2.5–8 cm long. Leaves grow alternately on stems. The leaf petioles are less than 15 mm in length and the stipules are also deciduous. The leaf blade is lanceolate, elliptical or oblong to widely ovate in shape. Leaves can have one to two ribs from the base; they are also generally thin and have an acute to obtuse tip. Leaf margins are either entire or slightly dentate, more so towards the leaf tip. Leaf surfaces are light green and are ciliate or contain hairs visible only by magnification. The lower leaves are also hairy and lighter in color.[2]

The flowers are white or blue and rarely pink in color. They are produced in raceme clusters of 15 centimeters or less and contain both male and female organs. The fruit is a sticky valved capsule about 4–5 mm in diameter with a slight crest; the seed is ejected from the capsule after splitting.[2]

It regenerates by seed, shoot formation from the crown and stem, and also by layering when branches come in contact with soil.[4][6] It has been suggested that some Ceanothus species do not resprout from the root after the crown has burned as a result of fire where most other species are able to regenerate.[7] Pollination of flowers is primarily by bees.

Seed production occurs after about four years of age. High densities of seeds occur in the upper soil of Ceanothus communities. Seeds remain viable up to 24 years or more. Seed dormancy is broken by the removal of the seed coat by fire scarification or physical disturbance.[4][6] Seeds germinate best at about 1 inch soil depth in shady areas in the spring following fire scarification.[4][6]

Varieties[edit]

There are four weakly defined varieties of Ceanothus integerrimus. Identification is primarily by leaf morphology and flower color:[2][4][6]

  • Ceanothus integerrimus var. californicus.[8] Leaves elliptic, lanceolate or oblong to ovate in shape and are three ribbed, from the leaf base. Leaf surfaces have small hairs and the undersides are less hairy than the surface. Flowers generally white or blue.
  • Ceanothus integerrimus var. integerrimus.
  • Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus.[9] Leaf blades oblong or ovate. Leaf bases are three ribbed at the base. Leaf surfaces are pubescent on both the surface and undersides. Flowers are white.
  • Ceanothus integerrimus var. puberulus.[10] Leaf blades elliptical or lanceolate and oblong to obovate in shape. Leaf base is three ribbed from the leaf base. Leaves are also pubescent on both sides. Flowers white.

Ceanothus integerrimus hybridizes with Ceanothus tomentosus (Lemmon's ceanothus) and Ceanothus cordulatus (mountain whitethorn).

Ecology[edit]

C. integerrimus is an important part of forest regeneration after wildfires by providing nitrogen.[11] It does this by creating nitrogen rich patches in the soil. The nitrogen source is created by its root association with nitrogen fixing bacteria.[1]

Deer and specifically mule deer feed on C. integerrimus. Porcupines and quail have also been observed eating the stems and seeds.[12] Nutritionally leaves are a good source of protein and stems and leaves also contain high levels of calcium. However, nutritional quality of leaves is seasonal and appears to be best from fall to early spring.[4]

Uses[edit]

Indigenous peoples of California use the branches to treat women after childbirth.[13] The Miwok Indians of Northern California also use the branches of this plant in weaving complex baskets.[4] The Concow tribe call the tree hē′-bē (Konkow language).[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [Oakley]
  2. ^ a b c d e f [Jepson]
  3. ^ [Gibbens]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g [Howard]
  5. ^ [Munz]
  6. ^ a b c d [Griffin]
  7. ^ [Raven]
  8. ^ (Kellogg) Benson
  9. ^ (Torrey) Benson
  10. ^ (Greene) Abrams
  11. ^ [Debano]
  12. ^ [Russell]
  13. ^ [Moerman]
  14. ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 404. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 

Bibliography[edit]

  1. Debano, L. F. & Conrad, C. E. (1978). The Effect of Fire on Nutrients in the Chaparral Ecosystem. Ecology 59 (3): 489-497.
  2. Gibbens, R. R. P. & Schultz, A. M. (1963). Brush manipulation on a deer winter range. California Fish and Game 49 (2): 95-118. [5976].
  3. Griffin, James R. (1982). Pine seedlings, native ground cover, and Lolium multiflorum on Marble-Cone burn, Santa Lucia Range, CA. Madrono 29 (3): 177-188.
  4. Jepson Flora Treatment: Ceanothus integerrimus
  5. Howard, Janet L. (1997). System Ceanothus integerrimus In: Fire Effects Information [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. [1].
  6. Munz, P. A. & Keck, D. D. (1959). A California Flora with Supplement p. 973. University of California Press, Berkely, Los Angeles.
  7. Moerman, D. Native American Ethnobotany. Timber Press, Oregon: 1988.
  8. Oakley B. B., North, M. P., & Franklin, J. F. (2003). The effects of fire on soil nitrogen associated with patches of the actinorhizal shrub Ceanothus cordulatus. Plant and Soil 254: 35-46.
  9. Oswald, V. H. & Ahart, L. (1994). Manual of the Vascular Plants of Butte County, California p. 192. Native Plant Society, Sacramento.
  10. Raven, P. H. & Axelrod, D. I. (1977). Origin and relationships of the California Flora. University of California Publications in Botany 72. Sacramento: University of California Press.
  11. Russell, C. P. (1932). Seasonal Migration of Mule Deer. Ecological Monographs 2:1 pp. 1–46.
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