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Red Root New Jersey Tea

(Caenothus herbaceous) also called Inland or Narrow-Leaved New Jersey Tea; red root flowers attract pollinators and the leaves can be made into tea.


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(Caenothus herbaceous), is also known as Red Root New Jersey Tea, Prairie Red root, or Narrow Leaved New Jersey Tea. This native deciduous shrub grows 2-3 ft tall and does best in medium to dry, alkaline, well-draining soils in full sun. Native American tribes made a medicinal tea from the dried leaves. A red dye can be made from the roots, hence the common name prairie redroot.


Wildlife notes

Butterflies and other insect pollinators are attracted to this plant; it is a host plant for the mottled duskywing and spring azure butterflies. Birds eat the seeds and use it for cover and nesting habitat. Deer and rabbits readily browse this plant.


Forage notes

The livestock palatability rating is Fair.


Landscaping notes

Once established, Caenothus herbaceous is a drought tolerant, bushy shrub typically growing to around knee high. Red Root has a deep and extensive root system that should not be disturbed once established. Some light shade is tolerated, but it prefers full sun.  In the garden, it prefers dry and sunny locations with good drainage. Also useful for hard-to-grow areas such as dry rocky slopes and banks. Similar to New Jersey Tea but with earlier blooms and narrower leaves. Plant in well-drained soil and protect young plants from deer and rabbits if necessary. Avoid disturbing roots of established plants.


Restoration notes

This species is native to glades, rocky prairie slopes, and sandy, loess hills in the central United States.  It is able to fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Similar plants can be found in our Dry’n Rocky Mix. Watch a video about this mix here.

Additional information

Weight N/A

Packet, Ounce, Pound


Full Sun to Part Shade


Dry, Average


36" – 48"

Bloom Month

Apr, May



Specialty Uses

Wildlife, Medicinal, Tea

Cattle Palatability


# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq ft.

What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.