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?
Herb Alpert, Grammy Award-winning bandleader of the Tijuana Brass, played in the 6th Army Band at the Presidio during the 1950's. Alpert later claimed the structure and discipline of the Army helped him with his music.