Ceanothus or Coast Blue Blossom
Origin Of Genus Name: Ceanothus is Latin for "thistle."
Presidio Locations: Found in coastal bluff scrub.
Range In State: Throughout California. The Presidio is the type locality for this species.
Description: This native perennial is a widely branching shrub with round, pale green twigs and short, oval, somewhat leathery leaves. Pale blue to white flowers grow in oblong clusters 2-3 inches long. Blooms March to July.
Native Californian Uses: The Pomo used the fresh or dried flowers as a soap for washing hands, face and body; mixing the flowers with water to produce a fine lather when rubbed briskly on the skin. Flowers were also used in dance wreathes at their Strawberry Festival.
Did You Know?
Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Pacific branch of the army, prepared the defenses of the San Francisco Bay and ordered the first garrison of Fort Point. Kentucky-born Johnston then resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army; he was killed at the battle of Shiloh in 1862.