New Jersey Tea

New Jersey Tea
New Jersey Tea
 Iralee Barnard

New Jersey Tea
Ceanothus herbaceus


Family Buckthorn
Longevity Perennial Shrub
Height 1.5 - 2.5 feet

Bloom Period

March April May June July August September October
  • Description: Woody stems are erect and many-branched. Leaves are alternate, oblong and prominently three-veined. White flowers with five, small, pipe-shaped petals (narrow at the base) are borne in round clusters at the branch tips.
  • Comments: As the name suggests, the leaves may be used to make a pleasing tea. The three-lobed fruits form in June and blacken with age. Seeds are eaten by birds. Plants are the larval host and nectar source for mottled duskywing butterflies. New Jersey Tea does not form thickets, but dense foliage provides shade, which is important to the survival of young grassland birds during summer heat. Often called “redroot,” because of the root color, the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen, which makes it available to adjacent plants. New Jersey Tea grows on rocky upland slopes and ridges in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas.

Return to The Meadow


The Meadow
Text: Iralee Barnard
Design: Jim Mason