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Ceanothus fendleri
Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Bear Creek Trail, June 29, 2010.

Ceanothus fendleri can spread over hundreds of square feet in open areas, as in the photograph above, but it most often grows in small clumps in forested areas, as shown in the photographs below.

Ceanothus fendleri
Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 26, 2004.

Tiny puffs of flowers in numerous clumps surmount narrow dark green leaves on this low, spreading, somewhat spiny shrub.  Ceanothus fendleri commonly grows to three feet tall and is almost always wider than tall.  Ceanothus fendleri is fairly common in coniferous montane open woods, and it attracts attention with its numerous bright white flowers.  Where you find one shrub, you almost always will find several.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753 and in 1849 Asa Gray named this species from a specimen collected near Santa Fe, New Mexico by Augustus Fendler in 1847.  "Ceanothus" is Greek and, according to Weber, refers to a kind of Thistle.  Augustus Fendler was a well-known nineteenth century plant collector. (More biographical information about Fendler.)

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 26, 2004 and western San Juan National Forest, June 24, 2013.

Numerous minute flowers make up the showy clusters.

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Haviland Lake Trail, June 27, 2005 and western San Juan National Forest, June 24, 2013.

Tight star-shaped buds open to exotic flowers.

Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Haviland Lake Trail, June 27, 2005.

When the star-shaped buds open we see that five triangular-shaped sepals (the bud covers) alternate with five pink stamens (topped with black/green, grooved anthers) and five scoop-shaped petals.

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri

Ceanothus fendleri
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Montane. Woodlands. Summer.
Fish Creek Trail, August 9, 2005 and Narraguinnep Natural Area, August 11, 2005.

Young Ceanothus fendleri seed capsules are as exotic as its flowers but soon dry and become less eye-catching.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Ceanothus fendleri