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Fremontodendron californicum - (Torr.)Coville.

Common Name Flannel Flower, California flannelbush, Common Flannel Bush
Family Sterculiaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The stem is clothed with brown hairs which rub off easily and can be a severe irritant[166]. When pruning it is best to wear a mask[166]. The eyes can be badly affected[202].
Habitats Dry, mostly granitic slopes, 900 - 1800 metres in California[71]. It thrives on poor dry rocky soils of the foothills, where it often forms dense thickets[229].
Range South-western N. America - California and Arizona.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Fremontodendron californicum Flannel Flower, California flannelbush, Common Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron californicum Flannel Flower, California flannelbush, Common Flannel Bush


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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Fremontodendron californicum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Chiranthodendron californicum. Fremontia californica.

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; East Wall. By. South Wall. By.

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Poultice  Urinary

The inner bark is used as a poultice[4, 61]. One report says that the bark has similar properties to Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm Bark)[4]. These properties are as follows:- Slippery elm bark is a widely used herbal remedy and is considered to be one of the most valuable of remedies in herbal practice[4]. In particular, it is a gentle and effective remedy for irritated states of the mucous membranes of the chest, urinary tubules, stomach and intestines[254]. The inner bark contains large quantities of a sticky slime that can be dried to a powder or made into a liquid[229]. The inner bark is harvested in the spring from the main trunk and from larger branches, it is then dried and powdered for use as required[4]. Ten year old bark is said to be best[4]. Fine grades of the powder are best for internal use, coarse grades are better suited to poultices[238]. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac which is a popular treatment for cancer. Its effectiveness has never been reliably proven or disproven since controlled studies have not been carried out. The other herbs included in the formula are Arctium lappa, Rumex acetosella and Rheum palmatum[254]. The inner bark is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, nutritive[4, 21, 165, 213]. It has a soothing and healing effect on all parts of the body that it comes into contact with[4] and is used in the treatment of sore throats, indigestion, digestive irritation, stomach ulcers etc[222]. It used to be frequently used as a food that was a nutritive tonic for the old, young and convalescents[222]. It was also applied externally to fresh wounds, burns and scalds[222]. The bark has been used as an antioxidant to prevent fats going rancid[222]. The whole bark, including the outer bark, has been used as a mechanical irritant to abort foetuses[238]. Its use became so widespread that it is now banned in several countries[238].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Wood

Landscape Uses: Container, Espalier, Hedge, Specimen. The bark can be made into cordage then used in making nets etc[257]. Wood - fine-grained, hard to soft, heavy[82, 229]. It is not used commercially due to the small size of the tree[229].

Special Uses


References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a light well-drained poorish soil[11] in full sun in a position sheltered from cold drying winds[200]. Tolerates light shade[202]. Prefers a hot dry situation according to one report[166] whilst another says that it does best against a north, west or east wall, a southern exposure usually being too hot and dry[182]. Tolerates very chalky soils[200, 202]. Plants produce lush growth when growing in rich soils at the expense of flowering[200]. This species is not hardy in the open at Kew, though it succeeds in the open in milder areas of the country[11, 182]. Plants tolerate temperatures down to about -15°c, especially once they are more than 1.5 metres tall[202]. Plants are relatively fast growing[202]. Resents root disturbance and should be planted into its final position when quite young[1, 11]. Plants do not seem to be long lived in cultivation[182], about 20 years being considered old age[219]. They are subject to sudden collapse and death, even if they have been growing and flowering well[11]. This is probably the result of excessive wet or of the plant failing to fully ripen its wood. The stems die back if the bark is cracked by frost or abrasion[1]. Plants can be pruned in mid to late summer, generating new growth and more flowers[202]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms. Landscape Uses Container, Espalier, Hedge, Specimen.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - pre-soak for 48 hours in warm water and then sow singly in pots in a cold frame in late winter. Variable germination[78]. Grow the young plants on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in sandy soil in a frame[200]. Cuttings of greenwood in spring in a frame[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

   Sun Apr 3 05:17:56 2005


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