E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Ceanothus sanguineus Pursh
redstem ceanothus
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #65868)

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Distribution of Ceanothus sanguineus
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Species Information

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Deciduous shrub 1-3 m tall; stems numerous, erect, greenish, becoming purplish-red, smooth.
Alternate, the blades egg-shaped to elliptic, 3-10 cm long, hairy on the underside of the veins, finely toothed, glandular; stalks 1-2.5 cm long; stipules 3-6 mm long, soon deciduous.
Inflorescence a terminal panicle with numerous flowers on short lateral branches of last year's growth; petals 5, white, long-clawed; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes deciduous.
Capsules, 3-4 mm long, separating into 3, dehiscent, rounded carpels; seeds 1 per carpel.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry rocky slopes, shrublands, open forests and burns in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in S BC; S to ID, MT and CA, disjunct in MI.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Ceanothus sanguineus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 140 745 1572
Slope Gradient (%) 0 40 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 193 338
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(4), ESSF(1), ICH(78), IDF(89), MS(7), PP(12), SBS(2)

Ecological Indicator Information

A very shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Occurs in continental climates on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils. Scattered and often plentiful on disturbed water-shedding sites within cool temperate, cool semiarid, and dry cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with continentality. Common in early seral communities in the coastal-interior ecotone. When forming a shrub layer it hinders regeneration and growth of shade-intolerant conifers. Symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria enhances the supply of available soil nitrogen. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Ceanothus oreganus Nutt.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References