Ceanothus, or California lilac, is a shrub common in chaparral habitats of California. This plant is very common in nature, and has many different forms. They are native to the coast ranges as well as the sierras. One quite common form of this plant is whitethorn, which is charactarized by blue-green foilage, small leaves, and very sharp thorns and grows at relatively high elevation in the Sierra and San Bernadino mountains. Although whitethorn is not very 'friendly', many other species of ceanothus are thornless and are covered with purple or white flowers in the early summer.

These plants are becoming somewhat popular as landscape plants in California, and also may be viable in areas of the East Coast of the US. They are a plant which should be used more in landscapes; they come in many forms, from small trees to ground covers, and even when they are not flowering their waxy leaves are very attractive. If you decide to grow a ceanothus, be sparing with water and fertilizer. Since these plants are used to dry, harsh areas, they are more likely to be harmed by overwatering and overfertilization than by neglect.