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a genus of plants of the family Rhamnaceae. The plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs or, less commonly, small trees. Some species have thorny branches. The alternate or opposite leaves are simple, usually petioled, and toothed; they bear deciduous stipules. The light-blue, white, pink, or red flowers are bisexual and small; they have a five-parted corolla and are gathered into umbellate clusters that form vivid panicles. The dry, rounded fruit dehisces into three nutlets.

There are about 80 species, distributed mainly in North America. Many species, especially those with light-blue and dark-blue flowers (numerous garden varieties and hybrids), are cultivated as ornamentals. The New Jersey tea (C. americanus), a deciduous shrub that reaches 1 m in height and has ovate or elliptical alternate leaves, is grown in the USSR in gardens and parks. Its white flowers are in axillary or terminal inflorescences. Its leaves were once used in North America as a substitute for tea.


Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
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One of the dazzling horticultural sights of spring is the Californian lilac, also known as the ceanothus.
TIE-IN wall shrubs such as Californian lilac or ceanothus onto trellis or wire supports and remove any awkwardfacing shoots.
CHOOSE plants that need less water - Californian lilac and lavender; hardy perennials such as irises or catmint; shrubs such as holly, or hardy perennials such as cotonester and bergenia.
In the sun, try clematis, Californian lilac, rosemary, lavender and euphorbia.
Blue shades look striking against the blue flowers of Californian lilac, so link border plants to the patio scheme for a professional look.
South-facing walls are ideal for exotic shrubs such as pineapple broom, which has a delicious, fruity fragrance, and Ceanothus or Californian lilac.
There are many eye-catching partnerships but you won't fail with sugar pink Clematis montana with the lavender blue flowers of Californian lilac or Clematis montana Rubens with early-flowering honeysuckle.
Ugly surfaces can be concealed with quick growing climbers such as evergreen ivy or bulky wall shrubs such as Californian lilac or ceanothus and Garrya elliptca, which is a good choice for shady north-facing wall.
In a larger space, I would also add a spring flowering, sapphire blue Ceanothus 'Concha', perhaps the best of the evergreen Californian lilacs," McIndoe suggests.

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