Ceanothus microphyllus

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Ceanothus microphyllus
Ceanothus microphyllus Gil.jpg
Photo by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Rhamnales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. microphyllus
Binomial name
Ceanothus microphyllus
CARP CORY dist.jpg
Natural range of Ceanothus microphyllus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Littleleaf Buckbrush

Taxonomic notes

The specific epithet refers to the reduced leaves that are tiny rounded nubs.[1]

Synonyms: none[2]

Varieties: none[2]


C. microphyllus is a perennial shrub that is in the Rhamnaceae family. It has small leaves that are less than 1/2 inch long, and usually reaches heights of 1 foot with 2-3 feet in spread.[3] This species has been observed to have several main branches near the base.[4]The flowers have obdiplostemony stamens, five clawed petals, and white. Fruits are explosively dehiscent. Mature fruits are dry, and three lobed.[5]


It is native to Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.[6] [7] It is listed as vulnerable in Alabama and Georgia.[8] Weakley notes that C. microphyllus is found a few kilometers away from the South Carolina border, and may spread to that state.[9]



This species has been found in open longleaf pine-wiregrass savannahs, sandhills, ridges, slopes, and wetlands. It has been observed to grow in well-drained dry loamy sands in the uplands as well as mesic environments.[4][9]

Associated species include Pinus palustris and Aristida stricta.[4][9]


C. microphyllus has been observed flowering from March to May and July with peak inflorescence in April.[10]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by ants and/or explosive dehiscence. [11]

Fire ecology

This species occurs in mature longleaf pine communities that are frequently burned.[4]Resprouts after quick burning fire.[12]


Pollinators are necessary for fruits to form. Many insects are attracted to the flowers.[13]

Herbivory and toxicology

Trace amounts of C. microphyllus have been found to be eaten by white-tailed deer.[14]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]]. Native Florida Wildflowers. Accessed: April 12, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  3. [[2]] Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Accessed: April 4, 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, R. A. Norris, Andre F. Clewell, Robert K. Godfrey, Steve L. Orzell, R. Komarek and Helen Roth. States and Counties: Florida: Gadsden, Liberty, and Wakulla. Georgia: Decatur, Grady, and Thomas.
  5. Coile N.C. 1992. Little-leaf Redroot. Palmetto 12(1):10-11.
  6. USDA, NRCS. (2016). The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 4 April 2019).
  7. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  8. [[3]]NatureServe. Accessed: April 12, 2016
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  10. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 7 DEC 2016
  11. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  12. Coile N. C. 1992. Little-leaf Redroot. Palmetto 12(1):10-11
  13. Coile N.C. 1992. Little-leaf Redroot. Palmetto 12(1):10-11
  14. Harlow, R. F. (1961). "Fall and winter foods of Florida white-tailed deer." The Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences 24(1): 19-38.