Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey Tea)
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Ceanothus americanus, also known as New Jersey tea, is a deciduous shrub that grows two to three feet tall in a rounded, compact form. This plant's common name, New Jersey Tea, was coined during the American Revolution because its leaves were used as a substitute for imported tea. New Jersey tea features glossy leaves and numerous clusters of bright white flowers in the mid to late summer which attract a wide variety of pollinators.
Deep tap roots make this shrub drought tolerant but difficult to move once established. Ceanothus americanus prefers full to part sun and medium to dry, well-drained soil. Although many fragrant species are deer and rabbit resistant, New Jersey tea is not one of these lucky few, but as a food source for mammals, as well as pollinators, its ecological value is obvious and widespread.