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Malacothamnus fremontii

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MalvaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to tree; generally with stellate hairs, often with bristles or peltate scales; juice generally mucilage-like; bark fibrous. Leaf: generally cauline, alternate, petioled, simple [palmate-compound], generally palmate-lobed and/or veined, generally toothed, evergreen or not; stipules persistent or not. Inflorescence: head, spike, raceme, or panicle, in panicle or not (a compound panicle), or flowers >= 1 in leaf axils, or flowers generally 1 opposite a leaf or on a spur; bracts leaf-like or not; bractlets 0 or on flowering stalks, often closely subtending calyx, generally in involucel. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals 5, generally fused at base, abutting in bud, larger in fruit or not, nectaries as tufts of glandular hairs at base; petals (0)5, free from each other but generally fused at base to, falling with filament tube, clawed or not; stamens 5--many, filaments fused for most of length into tube around style, staminodes 5, alternate stamens, or generally 0; pistil 1, ovary superior, stalked or generally not, chambers generally >= 5, styles or style branches, stigmas generally 1 or 1--2 × chamber number. Fruit: loculicidal capsule, [berry], or 5--many, disk- or wedge-shaped segments (= mericarps).
Genera In Family: 266 genera, 4025 species: worldwide, especially warm regions; some cultivated (e.g., Abelmoschus okra; Alcea hollyhock; Gossypium cotton; Hibiscus hibiscus). Note: Recently treated to include Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae. Mature fruit needed for identification; "outer edges" are surfaces between sides and back (abaxial surface) of segment. "Flower stalk" used instead of "pedicel," "peduncle," especially where both needed (i.e., when flowers both 1 in leaf axils and otherwise).
eFlora Treatment Author: Steven R. Hill, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Steven R. Hill, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MalacothamnusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: BUSH-MALLOW
Habit: Generally shrub, generally erect; hairs sparse to dense, stellate (stalked or sessile), simple, and glandular. Leaf: petioled; blade unlobed to 3--7-lobed, coarsely or shaggy-hairy to tomentose. Inflorescence: head- to panicle-like, flowers generally > 1 in leaf axils; bracts leaf-like or not, in involucre or not; bractlets 3, free, linear to lanceolate, persistent. Flower: calyx 5-lobed; petals 5, pale pink-purple or white (often +- purple when dry); petals generally > calyx, fused at base; stamens open prior to stigma maturation; style branches 5--14. Fruit: segments 5--14, 2--5 mm, separating, dehiscent, smooth, top hairy, beak 0. Seed: 1 per segment, brown to black.
Species In Genus: 12 species: California, northwestern Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: malakos, soft, thamnos, shrub) Note: Malacothamnus foliosus (S. Watson) Kearney reported but evidently not documented for California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Tracey Slotta

Malacothamnus fremontii (Torr. ex A. Gray) Greene
Habit: Plant < 3 m, branches +- erect, stout; hairs stalked, white, woolly to long-shaggy-hairy. Leaf: blade < 9 cm, round, thick, shallowly 5-lobed. Inflorescence: spike- to panicle-like; flowers 3--5 per node; leaf-like bracts few; flowering stalks < 1.5 cm; bractlets < 1/2 calyx, 1/2 as wide (as long). Flower: buds rounded; calyx < 1.2 cm, 1/3 as wide, lobes awl-shaped to lanceolate; petals < 2 cm; filament column to 1 cm. Fruit: segments 2--4 mm, obovate, shallowly notched, brown. Chromosomes: 2n=34.
Ecology: Open chaparral to pine woodland; Elevation: 600--1300 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRI, SNF, n SNH, GV, CW (exc SCoRO), SnGb. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Synonyms: Malacothamnus fremontii subsp. cercophorus (B.L. Rob.) Munz; Malacothamnus helleri (Eastw.) Kearney; Malacothamnus howellii (Eastw.) Kearney
eFlora Treatment Author: Tracey Slotta
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Previous taxon: Malacothamnus fasciculatus var. nuttallii
Next taxon: Malacothamnus hallii

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botanical illustration including Malacothamnus fremontii


Citation for this treatment: Tracey Slotta 2016. Malacothamnus fremontii, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 01, 2016.

Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2013 Steve Matson
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2013 Steve Matson
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2015 Neal Kramer
Malacothamnus fremontii
click for enlargement
© 2013 Steve Matson
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2014 Neal Kramer

More photos of Malacothamnus fremontii in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Malacothamnus fremontii:
NCoRI, SNF, n SNH, GV, CW (exc SCoRO), SnGb.
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.