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Mexican Flannelbush
Fremontodendron mexicanum

About Mexican Flannelbush (Fremontodendron mexicanum) Fremontodendron mexicanum is a rare species of shrub in the mallow family known by the common name Mexican flannelbush. It is known from about ten occurrences in northern Baja California and adjacent San Diego County, California, but it has most recently been confirmed to exist in only two of those locales today. In 1993, fewer than 100 individuals were thought to exist. In the United States it is a federally listed endangered species. The shrub grows in chaparral and coniferous forests among Tecate cypress trees, generally on alluvial plains. It is grown as an attractive ornamental plant in gardens and has occasionally been seen growing in the wild as a garden escapee. It is an erect, flowering shrub or multi-trunked small tree reaching 6-15 feet (1. 8-4. 6 m) high, with branches spreading to 10 feet (3. 0 m) wide. The leathery and furry olive green leaves are up to 5 centimeters long and divided into several wide lobes. The solitary flowers, each about 6 centimeters wide, appear spread along the branches. The showy flowers are made up of five bright orange sepals and have no true petals.

Fremontodendron mexicanum is cultivated as an ornamental plant by specialty plant nurseries, for planting in native plant, drought tolerant, and wildlife gardens, and in natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6 - 25 ft (1.8 - 7.6 m)

Max. Width
25 ft (7.6 m)



Growth Rate


Covered with prickly hairs that may cause dermatitis in some people

Flower Color
Yellow, Orange

Flowering Season

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry sandy washes and slopes, usually within about 20 miles of the coast and below 2,000 ft. in the southern part of the state, usually as part of the chaparral community. Also occasionally found in association with foothill woodland or pine forest


Elevation ?
125' - 2485'

Annual Precip. ?
11.0" - 18.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.24" - 0.78"

Coldest Month ?
45.0° F - 54.2° F

Hottest Month ?
73.4° F - 77.4° F

Humidity ?
1.70 vpd - 24.12 vpd

Soil Description
Must be fast draining

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Companion Plants
Butterflies hosted ?


Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Prune in late summer to encourage compact growth. Be sure to wear gloves as the leaf and stem hairs can be highly irritating.

Propagation ?
See or cuttings. Most plants available in nursery trade are hybrids, so cuttings are the best way to obtain a reliable result.

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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