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Common Name: Buckbrush
Ceanothus cuneatus is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 1.80 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
South-western N. America - Oregon to California and Mexico.
Dry slopes below 1800 metres in California[
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade[
]. Prefers a light soil with a low lime content[
]. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk[
Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[
Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil[
]. Plants flower on the previous year's growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering[
]. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life[
A fast-growing plant, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
]. No more details are given.
The leaves and flowers make an excellent tea when steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes[
Astringent, digestive, pectoral, tonic. A liver tonic[
A green dye is obtained from the flowers[
A red dye is obtained from the root[
The stems have been used as rods in basket making[
All parts of the plant are rich in saponins - when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap[
]. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc[
] The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin[
]. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 - 3 months stratification at 1°c[
]. Germination usually takes place in 1 - 2 months at 20°c[
]. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 - 120°c for 4 - 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it[
]. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 - 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability[
]. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node[
], mid summer in a frame[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 7 - 12 cm with a heel, early autumn in a cold frame[
]. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break[
]. Good percentage.