Ceanothus velutinus Douglas ex Hook.
snowbrush (snowbrush ceanothus)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #25012)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Ceanothus velutinus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Evergreen shrub 0.5-2 m tall; stems numerous, prostrate to erect, green, minutely hairy to smooth.
Alternate, the blades egg-shaped to elliptic, 5-10 cm long, smooth, shiny above, often tinged with brown and sticky above, greyish-hairy to smooth below, finely toothed; stalks 1-2 cm long; stipules 1 mm long, deciduous.
Capsules, 4-5 mm long, 3-lobed, separating into 3, dehiscent, rounded carpels, the carpels slightly crested above; seeds 1 per carpel.
Two varieties occur in BC.

1. Leaves smooth on lower surface, at least on the veins; plants occurring W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains....................var. hookeri M. C. Johnson

1. Leaves finely short -hairy on lower surface; plants occurring E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains......................var. velutinus

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


Ecological Framework for Ceanothus velutinus

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)
1030 316 2020
Slope Gradient (%)
38 0 170

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

188 20 296
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BG(2), ESSF(12), ICH(76), IDF(112), MS(42), PP(13)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry rocky slopes, shrublands, open forests and burns in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common on S BBC except rare on Vancouver Island; E to SW AB and S to SD, CO and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia