Jun. 24, 2019

redroot ceanothus, Ceanothus sanguineus

Redroot ceanothus grows on the Keweenaw Peninsula on Michigan's upper peninsula. A genuine Uper? Not only! This shrub grows from South Dakota's Black Hills westward. The Keweenaw redroots are what we call a disjunct population. Populations can be widely separated because habitat is lost, or because seeds get carried to remote areas. In Michigan when we think of ancient habitat loss, we think glaciers. But this is sometimes called Oregon tea tree. There is an eastern species, C. americanus, called New Jersey tea. Could some ancient traveler who was fond of western tea be responsible for Keweenaw redroot? Stranger things! Certainly, Indian commerce could account for Redroot presence in Michigan. In any case I can't really tell you why this is a disjunct. Redroot grows in CA, ID, MI(T), MT, OR, SD, WA, and BC. Keweenaw Co MI, 7/12/14.