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Mahala Mat

Scientific Name:

Prostrate ceanothus


Herbaceous Plant


Coniferous forests and open plateaus


Pacific Northwest, California, and Nevada


No listed status

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Mahala mat is an evergreen, ground cover plant that flowers both in the winter and spring. Mahala mat leaves have characteristic serrated leaf edges. On the undersides, the leaves are more pale in color as well as soft to the touch. These plants are members of the buckthorn family.

Fast Facts:

  • Mahala mat is unique as it is a nitrogen fixing plant, meaning it provides nutrients to other plants. It is good for erosion control and therefore is often used in restoration projects.

  • Mahala mat flowers grow in small clusters of deep blue or purple flowers in the spring and winter. The fruit resembles a wrinkled capsule one-half to one centimeter long.

  • Mahala mat has been commonly used by indigenous Americans as a makeshift playpen. The center of the sprawling plant would be removed and a baby would be placed in the bare spot. When the children would try to crawl outside of the center, the pokiness of the plant would keep them in the center. Therefore, caretakers could work and be ensured their children would wander off.



Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

May 12, 2021 at 9:24:44 PM

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