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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fremontodendron 'California Glory' - California Glory Flannel bush

California Glory Flannel Bush is a large evergreen rounded shrub or small tree native to California, potentially reaching 20' tall and wide. They are pretty stiff looking plants, with branches going off in various directions in mostly two dimensions or flattened herringbone pattern. 

Leaves are evergreen, simple, palmately lobed with 3 to sometimes 5 lobes. Leaves are dark green on the upper surface and covered with whitish stellate shaped hairs that are an irritant to many people. There is a tremendous variability in leaf shape in many specimens of flannel bush species and cultivars. The species has yellow hairs.

Flowers are yellow with 5 yellow petals and 5 orangish sepals. Produced in the spring and summer. This cultivar is very yellow and almost flat flowers and has more orangish coloring when viewed from behind. Large stamens are obvious. 

 Fruit is a capsule surrounded by bracts.

Stems are also covered with those nasty hairs. Be very careful working with these plants, the hairs get in your nose and are very uncomfortable to say the least. Stipules present as well.

This cultivar is a hybrid between Fremontodendron californium and F. mexicanum and introduced by Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in 1962. My guess is all the cultivars are hybrids. 'California Glory', 'Pacific Sunset' and 'San Gabriel' came from Rancho Santa Ana, while the others originally came from Saratoga Horticultural Foundation.

'Pacific Sunset' - Large plant, 30' and wider according to Nevin Smith (Native Treasures), Upright grower with stiff branches, flowers deep golden yellow with orange
'San Gabriel' - As large as 'Pacific Sunset' (Smith) Larger leaves and medium yellow flowers.
'Ken Taylor' - 5' tall and 8' wide, somewhat rounded and  mounded.
'Eldorado Gold' - Low spreading form, see below. Picture from Cal Poly I think.

Other Fremontidendrons likely, this one has more white tomentum. Saw 'Butano Ridge' at the UCSC sale, the leaves are very dark.

Freedom Blvd at the intersection with Soquel Drive. Two specimens.

Moss Landing is not in our county but the nicest ones are at the Dolan Rd intersection around the power plant.

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