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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 2017. Malacothamnus fremontii, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 23, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 23, 2017.

Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2013 Steve Matson
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2017 Neal Kramer
Malacothamnus fremontii
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Malacothamnus fremontii
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© 2017 Keir Morse
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. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
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.