New Jersey Tea is a low, upright shrub that grows to only 3 ft tall. It has small white flowers that occur in 2 in branch-tip clusters. The base of the plant is woody, while the upper portion of the plant is made up of non-woody, spreading branches. Its fruits are triangular capsules 1/4 inch in diameter. The seeds are ejected from the capsule and dispersed by the wind. The plant is monoecious, meaning that the same plant can have male flowers and female fruits.
New Jersey Tea is pollinated by duskywing and azure butterflies, hummingbirds, and short-tongued bees. Its seeds are consumed by wild turkeys and quail.
A fire-tolerant species, it sprouts quickly from rootstocks after being top-killed by fire. New Jersey Tea is common in prairies, savannas, and rocky upland forests. Outcompetes other plants in areas of poor, gravelly soil.
In the Arb:
It grows sparsely in the planted prairies of the Lower Arb.