Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Ceanothus foliosus


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Howard, Janet L. 1992. Ceanothus foliosus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : CEAFOL SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : CEFO COMMON NAMES : waveyleaf ceanothus vinehill ceanothus TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of waveyleaf ceanothus is Ceanothus foliosus Parry, in the family Rhamnaceae [21]. There are three recognized varieties: C. foliosus var. medius McMinn C. foliosus var. vineatus McMinn (vinehill ceanothus) C. foliosus var. foliosus LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : None [31] OTHER STATUS : Information on state- and province-level protection status of plants in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe.


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Waveyleaf ceanothus is endemic to California. It is found in the North and South Coast Ranges, from Humbolt County south to Santa Cruz County. It also occurs in the Cuyamaca Mountains of San Diego County [21]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES27 Redwood FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub STATES : CA BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 3 Southern Pacific Border KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : KOO6 Redwood forest KOO9 Pine - cypress forest KO10 Ponderosa shrub forest KO18 Pine - Douglas-fir forest KO29 California mixed evergreen forest K030 California oakwoods KO33 Chaparral K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub SAF COVER TYPES : 232 Redwood 234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone 244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir 245 Pacific ponderosa pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Waveyleaf ceanothus is not listed as a dominant or indicator species in any published classifications. Waveyleaf ceanothus is associated with Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa), Stanford manzanita (A. stanfordiana), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), wedgeleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus cuneatus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus), yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum), and chaparral pea (Pickeringia montana) [2,11]. (also see SAF Cover Types)


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Waveyleaf ceanothus is of limited value as livestock browse but is an important source of food for wildlife. Of the domestic animals, only sheep and goats will utilize it. It is readliy browsed by black-tailed deer and cottontail rabbit [19,26]. Various birds and small mammals consume the seeds, including western meadowlark, valley quail, large-eared and Portola woodrat, and California ground squirrel [19]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of the leaves and twigs of waveyleaf ceanothus is rated as good for deer, fair to poor for sheep and goats, and poor for cattle and horses [2,26]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : The protein content of waveyleaf ceanothus leaves and twigs varies from 25.0 percent in May to 7.5 percent in January [3]. COVER VALUE : Waveyleaf ceanothus provides cover for various chaparral birds and small mammals, such as valley quail, band-tailed pigeon, harvest mouse, long-eared and Portola woodrat, brush rabbit, and cottontail rabbit [26]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Within its range, waveyleaf ceanothus is useful for soil erosion control and improvement. Its presence increases available nitrogen in poor soils through the action of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules [6,29]. It can be propagated by stem cuttings or by seed. Van Dersal [29] reported a 92 percent germination success rate following a hot water treatment at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees C) and a 3-month stratification period at 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees C). OTHER USES AND VALUES : The dark blue flowers and prostrate form of waveyleaf ceanothus make it an attractive ground cover for landscaping [29]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Grazing: Waveyleaf ceanothus is undesirable browse for cattle [26,29]. Control: Waveyleaf ceanothus can be controlled by aerial applications of 2,4-D or 2,4,5-T [11]. It can also be controlled by burning. (see Fire Management Considerations)


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Waveyleaf ceanothus is a procumbent or prostrate, native evergreen shrub [21,26,29]. Its small, waxy leaves, from 0.2 to 0.6 inch (0.5-1.5 cm) long, are borne on spreading glandular branches. The fruits are small capsules containing about 12 hard-coated seeds. The growth habit of waveyleaf ceanothus roots remains unstudied. Gregg ceanothus (Ceanothus greggii), an obligate seeder of similar size, has lateral roots spreading to 6.6 feet (2 m), with vertical growth from 11.8 to 15.7 inches (30-40 cm) [17]. Waveyleaf ceanothus roots develop large nitrogen-fixing nodules [6,29]. Plants live about 30 years [20]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Waveyleaf ceanothus is classified as an obligate seeder [21,23,26,29]. Seed production varies, depending upon available soil moisture. During wet years, an individual plant may produce hundreds of seeds. During drought, the plant may produce no seed at all. Most seeds remain under the parent plant and are gradually covered by duff. Some seeds are dispersed by water, or by birds and small mammals [12]. The maximum length of viability is unknown but is believed to be several decades [24]. Germination generally requires overwinter stratification [24,29]. The seeds, however, demonstrate some ability to germinate without prior stratification. Under natural conditions, germination of unscarified seeds is probably rare [12]. Quick [24] found that 33 percent of the waveyleaf ceanothus seeds he tested, however, germinated without prior scarification under greenhouse conditions. Seedling mortality is high, with seedlings vulnerable to competition from other species, drought, and herbivory [12]. Waveyleaf ceanothus plants are sexually mature at about 5 years [7,14]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Waveyleaf ceanothus is most common in the low coastal hills. These hills are often fog-bound from November to mid-April, with the fog burning off in the afternoon. From mid-April on, the slopes are dry and sunny until the next rainy season begins [24]. Mean temperatures run from 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees C) in July and August to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees C) in December and January [11]. Climate: Waveyleaf ceanothus occurs in a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers [21,26,29]. Elevation: Waveyleaf ceanothus occurs between 200 to 5,000 feet (61-1,524 m) [26]. Soil: Waveyleaf ceanothus grows in rocky, sandy or sandy-loam soil. It will tolerate serpentine soil [15]. Associated species: Waveyleaf ceanothus is associated with Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa), Stanford manzanita (A. stanfordiana), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), wedgeleaf ceanothus (C. cuneatus), deerbrush (C. integerrimus), yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum), and chaparral pea (Pickeringia montana) [2,11]. (also see SAF Cover Types) SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Waveyleaf ceanothus is shade intolerant [10]. It is a residual colonizer on disturbed sites, where its nitrogen-fixing ability gives it an early competitive edge over most chaparral species [6]. The presence of sexually mature waveyleaf ceanothus individuals within a community denotes mid-seral status. Waveyleaf ceanothus is rarely found in climax communities [10,20]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Waveyleaf ceanothus flowers from March to May, producing most of its vegetative growth at the same time [11,21]. The floral primordia for the following year's flowers are produced in May [12]. Fruits develop in late spring to early summer, and their seed is cast from June through August [7]. Although waveyleaf ceanothus leaves persist throughout the year, many are lost in the summer [11].


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Plant adaptations: Waveyleaf ceanothus establishes from seedbanks. Large numbers of hard-coated, long-lived seeds accumulate in the litter, duff, and soil beneath the parent plant. Germination is usually fire stimulated [11,24,26,29]. The seed is extremely resistant to heat and will remain viable after exposure to temperatures up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 deg C) [27]. Waveyleaf ceanothus appears to have a competitive edge over sprouting species when there are long intervals between fires. When fire does not occur for 50 to 100 years, the fuel build-up results in an intense fire once it does start. The mortality of sprouting species is unusually high, resulting in more openings for waveyleaf ceanothus seedlings [13]. Fire ecology: Waveyleaf ceanothus twigs and leaves contain flammable waxes, oils, and terpenes [5]. The prostrate growth form of the plant encourages fire to spread. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community) FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Moderate fire kills waveyleaf ceanothus [11]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Waveyleaf ceanothus regenerates by fire-stimulated germination of seed stored in the soil [11,12,24,29]. Seedling establishment is always more successful following a fall burn, which allows the seed a timely period of overwinter stratification [14,22]. With spring burns, sprouting species become established before waveyleaf ceanothus seeds can overwinter and germinate. Even under ideal conditions, seedling mortality is high [12,20]. From postfire years 1 to 3, the seedlings must compete with herbaceous as well as sprouting species. By postfire years 5 to 10, surviving waveyleaf ceanothus plants have usually established codominance with other chaparral brush. After about 35 to 40postfire years, waveyleaf ceanothus will be displaced by taller chaparral brush species until the next fire cycle [20]. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Grazing: A prescribed fire, followed by second fire prior to maturation of the seed crop, can reduce or eliminate waveyleaf ceanothus from a pasture. Hedrick [11] found waveyleaf ceanothus was eliminated from a Lakeport, California, pasture that was reburned 3 years after an initial fire. Wildlife considerations: Periodic burning can increase production of waveyleaf ceanothus for deer browse. Open shrubland areas created by burning small patches of land within a chaparral community creates extremely favorable deer habitat and increases the population of waveyleaf ceanothus [4]. To maximize wavyleaf ceanothus growth, burns should be carried out in late fall and conducted at intervals of 10 to 15 years to allow seedlings time to mature and replenish the seedbank. Managers recommend burning 5 to 10 acre (2-4 ha) patches and providing as much edge effect as possible to maximize value to deer. Waveyleaf ceanothus can persist much longer in a chaparral community that has been opened up in this manner because it is not shaded out by taller species [4].


SPECIES: Ceanothus foliosus
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Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 17. Kummerow, Jochen; Krause, David; Jow, William. 1977. Root systems of chaparral shrubs. Oecologia. 29: 163-177. [5352] 18. Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No. 14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373. [1496] 19. Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p. [4021] 20. Menke, John W.; Villasenor, Ricardo. 1977. The California Mediterranean ecosystem and its management. In: Mooney, Harold A.; Conrad, C. Eugene, technical coordinators. Proc. of the symp. on the environmental consequences of fire and fuel management in Mediterranean ecosystems; 1977 August 1-5; Palo Alto, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 257-270. [4847] 21. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155] 22. Neuenschwander, L. F. [n.d.]. The fire induced autecology of selected shrubs of the cold desert and surrounding forests: A-state-of-the-art-review. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, College of Forestry, Wildlife and Range Sciences. In cooperation with: Fire in Multiple Use Management, Research, Development, and Applications Program, Northern Forest Fire Laboratory, Missoula, MT. 30 p. Unpublished manuscript on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [1747] 23. Parker, Virgil Thomas. 1984. Correlation of physiological divergence with reproductive mode in chaparral shrubs. Madrono. 31(4): 231-242. [5360] 24. Quick, Clarence R. 1935. Notes on the germination of ceanothus seeds. Madrono. 3: 135-140. [4135] 25. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 26. Sampson, Arthur W.; Jespersen, Beryl S. 1963. California range brushlands and browse plants. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences, California Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service. 162 p. [3240] 27. Sweeney, James R. 1956. Responses of vegetation to fire: A study of the herbaceous vegetation following chaparral fires. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 249 p. [3776] 28. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 29. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240] 30. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 31. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 2013. Endangered Species Program, [Online]. Available: [86564]