California Lilac (Ceanothus)  via

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their project to help reduce water usage in California. As part of their efforts, they focus on providing plant alternatives to water hungry lawns. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting some of their garden alternatives as part of this series. For more information on these plants and other water conservation ideas and programs, vist BeWaterWise.comFollow the MWD on Twitter at BeWaterWiseH2O — Douglas

Ceanothus americanus.jpg
Ceanothus americanus” by United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge: Ceanothus americanus L.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The California lilac blooms late winter to spring with clusters of owers in white and every shade of blue from very light to deep violet. Generally an evergreen, the California Lilac comes in all shapes and sizes including low and spreading, tightly grouped and bushy, and standing-up and angular. Only a few varieties lose their leaves in cold weather. They require full sun and little to no water. —

 Ceanothus L. /ˌsiːəˈnoʊθəs/[2] is a genus of about 50–60 species of shrubs or small trees in the family Rhamnaceae. Common names for members of this genus are California Lilac, Wild Lilac, and Soap Bush.[3] “Ceonothus” comes from a Greek word meaning “spiny plant”.[3]

The genus is confined to North America, with the center of its distribution in California. Some species (e.g. C. americanus) are found in the eastern United States and southeast Canada, and others (e.g. C. coeruleus) extend as far south as Guatemala. Most are shrubs 0.5–3 m tall, but C. arboreus and C. thyrsiflorus, both from California, can be small trees up to 6–7 m tall. The name is derived from the Greek word κεανοθος (keanothos), which was applied by Theophrastus (371-287 BC) to a spiny Old World plant believed to be Cirsium arvense.[4][5] — Wikipedia

More information on California Lilac (Ceanothus)  :
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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas