California Lilac or Blue Myrtle TreeThe California Lilac, or Blue Myrtle (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, Esch.), is related to the shrubby New Jersey tea, or redroot of the eastern half of the continent. But it is a California species, and there we shall find it in all stages from a small shrub on the bleak lower coast to a towering tree 40 feet high among the redwoods, and on the hillsides of Mendocino County.
It keeps to the western part of the state. The most striking feature of this plant is the inflorescence. The twigs end in clusters of small, blue, fragrant flowers (rarely white), which suggest nothing more than our garden lilac blooms, in miniature.
The leaves are small with peculiar venation, having three midribs instead of one. From this native species have been derived forms of showier bloom, which are extensively planted. These California lilacs do poorly in the Eastern States, but much better in Europe.