Shrubs or small trees, often spiny, with simple, alternate lvs. with flowers regular, sometimes apetalous or otherwise imperfect; with the stamens perigynous, as many (4 or 5) as the valvate sepals, alternate with them, and opposite to the petals when they are present. Disk fleshy; capsule or berry with one albuminous seed in each cell.
Genera 42, species 250, distributed throughout all countries except those in the frigid zones. Many arc natives of U. S. Ceanothus is peculiar to N. America.
Properties. The berries of many species of Rhamnus are violent purgatives. The Zizyphus Jujuba yields the well-known jujube paste of the shops. The leaves of Ceanothus have been used as a substitute for tea.
Flowers clustered, axillary. Petals as long as sepals or none.............
Flowers clustered, terminal Petals on long exserted claws....................
Flowers panicled, terminal. Petals as long as the sepals....................
Flowers spicate, terminal. Petals very minute......................
1. RHAMNUS, L. Buckthorn. (The Greek name.) Calyx urceo-late, 4 or 5-cleft; petals 4 or 5, notched, lobed or entire, or sometimes wanting; ovary free, not immersed in the thin torus, 2 to 4-celled; styles 2 to 4, more or less united; drupe containing 2 to 4 cartilaginous nuts. - Lvs. alternate, rarely opposite. Fls. in axillary clusters.
§ Flowers tetramerous. Leaves with arcuate veins.................................................
Nos. 1, 2
§ Flowers pentamerous. Leaves with straightish veinlets........................................
Nos. 3, 4
1 R. catharticus L. Thorny; lvs. ovate, denticulate-serrate; fls. fascicled; polygamo-dicecious, mostly tetrandrous; sty. 4, at apex distinct and recurved; fr. globular, 4-seeded. - Cultivated in hedges, and occasionally found wild in N. Eng. and N. Y. It is a shrub or tree 10 to 15f high, spreading, with thorns termin-nating the short branches. Lvs. somewhat opposite. 1 to 2' long, 2/3 as wide, usually with an abrupt acumination, and with 6 to 7 arcuate veins. Pedicels 3 to 4" long. Fls. greenish. Petals inconspicuous, entire (sometimes 0?), narrower than the lanceolate sepals. Berries black, with a green juice, cathartic, and forming with alum the pigment called sap green.
2 R. lanceolatus Ph. Thornless; lvs. lanceolate or lance-oblong, acute at each end, serrulate, the younger leaves obtuse; fls. 1 to 3 together; petals 2-lobed; styles 2, at apex distinct and diverging; drupes 2-seeded. - Shrub 4 to 8f high, on the rocky banks of rivers, Ind. to Tenn. and Penn. rare. Lvs. about 2' long, on short, but distinct petioles, often nearly glabrous when old. Fls. yellowish-green, perfect but often fruitless. Berries small, dark red.
3 R. alnifolius L'Her. Shrub erect, with unarmed branches; lvs. oval, acute, serrate, pubescent on the veins beneath; ped. aggregate, 1-flowered; fls. mostly peutandrous and apetalous; cal. acute; sty. 3, united, very short; fr. turbinate, black. - A shrub 2 to 4f high, in sphagnous swamps, Penn. to Can. Lvs. 1 to 3' long, 1/2 as wide, acute at base. Berries about as large as currants, black, 3-seeded. May, Jn. (R. franguloides Mx.)
4 R. Carolinianus Walt. Shrub erect, unarmed; lvs. oblong-oval, obscurely serrulate, acute, paler beneath; fls. perfect, in short, axillary umbels, petals minute; styles united, stigmas 3; fr. globular, 3-seeded. - A handsome shrub or small tree on river banks, Southern States (Feay). Lvs. 3 to 5' long, 1/3 as wide, dark green and shining above, the petioles 4 to 5" long, veins prominent. Fls. small, whitish, 3 to 9 in each umbel which is not longer than the petioles. Berries purple. May, Jn.
2. CEANOTHUS, L. Jersey Tea. Red-root. Calyx tubular-cam-panulate, 5-cleft, separating transversely after flowering; petals 5, saccate-arched, with long claws; stamens mostly exserted; style mostly 3-cleft; capsule obtusely triangular, 3-celled, 3-seeded, surrounded at base by the persistent tube of the calyx. - Shrubby and thornless. Fls. small, aggregated at the end of the branches.
1 C. Americanus L. Lvs. oblong-ovate, or ovate, serrate, 3-veined; flowering branches leafy or leafless, elongated. - A small shrub with a profusion of white blossoms, found in woods and groves U. S. and Can. 'Very abundant en the barrens at the West. St. 2 to 4f high, slender, with reddish, round, smooth branches. Lvs. nearly twice as long as broad, very downy, with soft hairs beneath. Fls. minute, white, in crowded panicles from the axils of the upper leaves. Stamens enclosed in the curiously vaulted corolla. The root, which is large and red, is sometimes used for coloring. The leaves have been used as a substitute for tea. Jn.
(3. glabra. Whole plant very nearly glabrous; panicles leafless. Woburn, Mass. (Dr. Rickard.)
2 C. ovalis Bw. Lvs. oval-lanceolate or narrowly oblong, with glandular serra-tures, 3-veined, veins pubescent beneath; thyrse corymbous, abbreviated. - Burlington, Vt (Robbins), W. to Mich. Shrub 2 to 3f high. Lvs. smooth and shining, 1 to 3' long, 1/4 as wide, mostly acute at each end, crenately serrate, the ser-ratures tipped with black, glandular points. Thyrse short, almost hemispherical, 1 1/2' diam., the peduncle 1 to 2' long. Fls. white, larger than those of the last. May.
3 C. microphyllus Mx. Diffusely branched, branches very slender; lvs. minute, obovate, rigid, glabrous, strigous beneath, clustered; fls. in a simple, umbellate cluster at the end of each branchlet. - Ga. and Fla. in the pine barrens. Small shrubs with yellowish, striated bark; sts. 1f or more in length, branching pin-nately. Lvs. 1 to 2" in length, entire or with few teeth. Fls. white in all their parts, 3 to 12 in a cluster.
β. serpyllifolius. Sts. more slender, decumbent, branchlets (peduncles, Nutt.) ascending, few-leaved, few-flowered; lvs. rather larger (2 to 3") oval or obovate, somewhat serrulate. - Savannah (Prof. Pond.). (C. serpyllifolius Nutt.)
3. BERCHEMIA, Necker. Supple Jack. Calyx 5-parted; petals 5, convolute, enclosing the 5 stamens; ovary half immersed in the disk but free from it, 2-cellcd; style bifid; drupe oblong, with a bony, 2-celled nut - Unarmed shrubs, erect or climbing. Lvs. pinnate-veined, with many veinlcts. Panicles terminal.
B. volubilis DC. Climbing, glabrous; lvs. ovate, straight-veined, repandly serrate; fls. . - Southern States, common in damp, rich soils. St. very supple and tough, climbing 10 to 20f, with smooth, reddish bark and pendant branches. Lvs. about 2' long, with 10 to 13 pairs of veinlets, smooth and shining. Panicles small, terminating the branchlets. Drupe dark purple, 3" long, the nut hard and woody. May, Jn.
4. SAGERETIA, Brongn. (Named for M. Sageret, a French florist and veg. physiologist.) Calyx 5-cleft; petals 5, convolute; stamens 5; ovary partly immersed in the entire disk; style short and thick, with a 3-lobed stigma; berry 3-celled.-Shrubs with the slender branches often spiny, and the lvs. opposite. Fls. in rigid, interrupted spikes.
S. Michauxii Brongn. Branches at length spiny; lvs. ovate or oblong-ovate, sub-sessile, shining and subentire; fls. very small, in panicled spikes; petals minute, entire; berry 3-seeded. - Car. to Fla. along the coast. Shrub much branched. Lvs. 1' or more long, the veinlets few and obscure, shining above. Oct, Nov.