Fremontodendron californicum

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Fremontodendron californicum
Fremontodendron californicum, Jardín Botánico de Múnich, Alemania, 2013-05-04, DD 01.jpg
Conservation status

Apparently Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Fremontodendron
Species: F. californicum
Binomial name
Fremontodendron californicum
Fremontodendron californicum range map.jpg
Natural range

Fremontodendron californicum, the California flannelbush, with syn. Fremontia californica Torr.) is a flowering evergreen minor hardwood tree/shrub, with fuzzy, flannel-like leaves and colorful blossoms. It bears the alternate common names California fremontia and flannel flower. It is one of two species in the genus Fremontodendron (the other being F. mexicanum), and it is divided into four subspecies.


Fremontodendron californicum is found in some mountainous spots in California, especially along the eastern San Joaquin Valley[1] in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, where it thrives in chalky, sandy, nutritionally poor soils; it is also found on the east slope Cascade Range foothills of the northwest San Joaquin Valley.[2] It is also found in small, isolated populations in the mountains of central and western Arizona's transition zone-Mogollon Rim region, primarily in the Mazatzal and Superstition Mountains. [1] [2].


The subspecies Pine Hill flannelbush, F. c. decumbens, is a California endemic and a federally listed endangered species. It is sometimes known by a species name of its own, Fremontodendron decumbens. It can only grow in metal-rich gabbro soil, a red weathered soil of volcanic origin, and requires fire for seed germination. Nearly all of the individuals of this species are found in the Pine Hill Ecological Reserve in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but since this reserve is near human habitation, fire is suppressed.

The subspecies F. c. californicum, which is usually called California flannelbush or California slippery elm, is more common and is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. The flowers are yellow and each petal has an attractive, curved shape that comes to a point. The bark bears a gooey sap that was once used as a topical remedy for mucous membrane irritation and for gastrointestinal upset. However, the hairs covering the leaves are easily brushed off and are a skin and eye irritant.

Fremontodendron californicum is also found in central to northern Baja California in isolated locales.[3]


  1. ^ Little. Atlas of United States Trees, Volume 3, Minor Western Hardwoods. Map 84, Fremontodendron californicum.
  2. ^ Little, Map 84, Fremontodendron californicum.
  3. ^ Little, Map 84, Fremontodendron californicum.
  • Little. Atlas of United States Trees, Volume 3, Minor Western Hardwoods, Little, Elbert L, 1976, US Government Printing Office. Library of Congress No. 79-653298. Map 84, Fremontodendron californicum.

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