Buckbrush is a real scraggly looking mass of tangled sticks and branches. The leaves of this plant can be used to make a mildly stimulating tea. The first pioneers in this area would actually make tea from this plant to substitute for green tea. There are many species of Ceanothus, but the most common species that grows near us is called Ceanothus cuneatus. This species prefers a chaparral environment and can be found in open grasslands growing alongside oaks and manzanita.
In the early season this plant will bloom with hundreds of little clusters of white pleasant smelling flowers. The flowers are high in saponins (soap-like particles). You can use these flowers as a kind of soap to wash dirt and grime off your hands or body. They produce suds when scrubbed in water.