Fremontodendron californicum, with the common names California flannelbush, California fremontia, and flannel bush, is a flowering shrub native to diverse habitats in southwestern North America.

Fremontodendron is named for Major General John Charles Frémont (1813–90), an explorer of western North America. Californicum means 'from California'.

Fremontodendron californicum is found in numerous habitats across California at elevations of 1,300–6,500 feet (400–1,980 m), especially California chaparral and woodlands, Yellow Pine Forests, and Pinyon-juniper woodlands along the eastern San Joaquin Valley. It is found along the eastern San Joaquin Valley in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada in chalky, sandy, nutritionally poor soils; on the east slope Cascade Range foothills of the northwest Sacramento Valley and the Klamath Mountains to the west; the California Coast Ranges throughout the state; the Transverse Ranges, and the Peninsular Ranges.

It is also found in small, isolated populations in the mountains of central and western Arizona, in the Arizona transition zone-Mogollon Rim region, primarily in the Mazatzal Mountains and Superstition Mountains.  It is also found from central to northern Baja California state, in isolated chaparral locales in the Peninsular Ranges.

The plant is a flowering evergreen hardwood shrub or small multi-trunked tree, growing from 8–18 feet (2.4–5.5 m) in height and 6–10 feet (1.8–3.0 m) in width.

The 1–5 centimeters (0.39–1.97 in) leaves are olive to gray−green, fuzzy and flannel-like, palmately to pinnately lobed. The hairs covering the leaves are easily brushed off in human contact and can be a skin and eye irritant.

Observations Map

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The large flowers are 3.5–6.0 centimeters (1.4–2.4 in) in diameter, a rich yellow, sometimes with orange, coppery, or reddish margins. The blossoms are borne in great showy masses and tend to bloom one at a time. Each petal has an attractive, curved shape that comes to a point.

Ethnobotany

As a traditional Native American medicinal plant, the inner bark's sap was used as a topical remedy for mucous membrane irritation and for gastrointestinal upset, by some of the indigenous peoples of California. The wood was also used by the Californian Yokut and Kawaiisu peoples as a building and furniture material, and the bark for cordage and for nets used in acorn cache holding and snare hunting.


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