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Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

 As promised our next spectacular canyon bloom is Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, known as Blueblossom or Blue Blossom Ceanothus, an evergreen shrub in the genus Ceanothus that is endemic to California. As soon at the Ceanothus crassifolius came to the end of its bloom cycle the Blueblossom Ceanothus started and has been increasing for the last three weeks. Looking out at the canyon now it appears that at least 25% of the chaparral is Ceanothus thyrsiflorus. As mentioned previously we don’t remember the bloom ever being this intense, it truly is amazing to see the native plants following the natural watering cycle. The term 'Californian lilac' is applied to this and other varieties of Ceanothus, though it is not closely related to Syringa, the true lilac. C. thyrsiflorus can grow more than 20 ft. tall in its native chaparral habitat but varies dramatically in form and size over its natural range, with some plants growing fairly upright to 30 feet and others growing in a mounding form to only 2-3 feet tall.  Flowers vary from different shades of blue to close to white. It is popular with birds, butterflies, and other pollinators, its flowers are important for bees and butterflies, and its seed pods are an important food source for birds and small mammals. Blueblossom Ceanothus is evergreen, with leaves range from bright green to dark green. It has small flowers that are produced in dense, puff-shaped clusters that are white, light blue, dark blue or purple. They bloom in the late winter through early spring, and then mature into a dry, three-lobed seed capsule. These images were taken in Topanga canyon approximately 2 miles from the beach.