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Vascular Plants of California
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Fremontodendron californicum

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: FremontodendronView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Shrub, small tree; densely stellate-hairy; evergreen. Stem: decumbent to erect, < 7 m; inner bark gelatinous. Leaf: often on spur, +- ovate, generally with 3 main, few to many 2° lobes, otherwise entire; hairs generally denser abaxially, white and/or brown; stipules generally +- 2 mm or +- 4--4.5(9) mm. Inflorescence: flowers generally 1 opposite leaf or on spur; bractlets generally 3. Flower: (23)30--84 mm wide; petals 0; sepals spreading, widely ovate to +- round, showy, tips awned or not, adaxially pitted between raised, hard, fused basal margins, pits puberulent, long hairs on margins present or 0; filament tube +- = ovary, < style, fleshy; ovary (and fruit) sessile. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal, 5-valved, 2--4 cm, acute-ovoid, bristly, partly enclosed by dried calyx, chambers 2--3-seeded. Seed: 3.5--5.5 mm, ovoid, dull brown to shiny black.
Species In Genus: 3 species: California, Arizona, Mexico. Etymology: (John C. Frémont, explorer in western America, 1813--1890)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston, R. David Whetstone & T.A. Atkinson
Reference: Kelman et al. 2006 Madroño 53:380--387
Fremontodendron californicum (Torr.) Coville
Habit: Plant erect, generally 2--5 m, taller than wide, branched near ground. Leaf: petiole 0.4--3 cm; blade 1--7 cm, palmately lobed (unlobed), soft to leathery, base truncate to shallowly cordate; stipules +- 2 mm. Inflorescence: flower stalk 4--18 mm. Flower: (23)35--60(76) mm wide; sepals yellow, sometimes +- red towards base, keeled on back, pit margins silky-hairy. Seed: dull brown to black, stellate-pubescent, aril-like structure present.
Ecology: Chaparral, oak/pine woodland; Elevation: 180--2320 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRO, NCoRI, s CaR, SN, SnFrB, SCoR, TR, PR; Distribution Outside California: southwestern Oregon, Arizona, northern Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul Note: Highly variable; some variation induced by habitat.
Unabridged Synonyms: Fremontodendron californicum subsp. californicum; Fremontodendron californicum subsp. crassifolium (Eastw.) J.H. Thomas; Fremontodendron californicum subsp. napense (Eastw.) Munz; Fremontodendron californicum subsp. obispoense (Eastw.) Munz
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston, R. David Whetstone & T.A. Atkinson
Reference: Kelman et al. 2006 Madroño 53:380--387
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Fremontodendron californicum

botanical illustration including Fremontodendron californicum


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston, R. David Whetstone & T.A. Atkinson 2012, Fremontodendron californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 27, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 27, 2022.

Fremontodendron californicum
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Fremontodendron californicum
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© 2012 Neal Kramer
Fremontodendron californicum
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© 2014 Steve Matson
Fremontodendron californicum
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Fremontodendron californicum
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Fremontodendron californicum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Fremontodendron californicum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Fremontodendron californicum:
NCoRO, NCoRI, s CaR, SN, SnFrB, SCoR, TR, PR
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).