New Jersey Tea
(Common New Jersey Tea - Red Shank - Freckle Weed - Wild Snowball)
Ceanothus americanus
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn) Family

Plants is an upright small shrub. Preferred habitat is prairies, open woods and roadsides. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate on the stem, consisting of one whole part, unstalked or short stalks, oval to lance-like, tapering to the tip or forming an angle to the left and pinched; margins are toothed and leaf base is wedge shaped.

Flowers are in a cluster at the tip of a branch that arise from the leaf axil; bisexual; symmetrical in shape (regular). Calyx is present; cup shaped; five petals that are hooded and clawed; white to grayish white; five stamens that extend beyond the petals. Flowers occur in the spring and summer.

Fruit is a drupe.

The dried leaves of this nitrogen-fixing shrub make an excellent tea that was very popular during the Revolutionary War period. The smaller C. ovatus has narrower leaves. C. microphyllus has tiny leaves, less than 1/2 inch long and occurs in sandy pine or oak woods.

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