California Flannelbush (Californicum) is generally described as
a perennial tree or shrub.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer .
California Flannelbush (Californicum) has
green foliage and
yellow flowers, with
a moderate amount of
conspicuous black fruits or seeds.
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
summer and continuing until
retained year to year.
California Flannelbush (Californicum) has a
moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a
moderate growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
California Flannelbush (Californicum) will reach up to
10 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
California Flannelbush (Californicum) is usually not commercially available except under contract. It can be propagated by
bare root, container, cuttings, seed.
It has a
moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
high tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Ethnobotanic: The bark is cut at one end of the branches and peeled off in long strips. These are washed and rubbed between the hands. Three strands are rolled together on the upper thigh to make cordage a type of string or rope that was made into a pack strap and tumpline by the Kawaiisu. The wood was also sometimes substituted for willow in the making of Kawaiisu baby cradles. The inner bark was soaked in water and the infusion drank as a physic by the Kawaiisu. Many other California tribes utilized the bark for cordage including the Owens Valley Paiute, Sierra Miwok, Western Mono, and Tubatulabal. The Sierra Miwok made a hoop of the bark wrapped with buckskin for the hoop and pole game. The Tubatulabal used rope made of flannelbush to lash bundles of tules together for a raft, to tie up crooks on pinyon staves, to bundle firewood into a load, and for two ends of a pack strap. The Western Mono used the young split branches to tie together their looped stirring sticks and to assemble different types of cone-shaped storage bins for acorns and manzanita berries.
General: Sterculia Family (Sterculiaceae). Named after the explorer John C. Fremont, this shrub or small tree reaches 3-8 m in height. The twigs have dense stellate hairs. The shrub has ovate, soft to leathery leaves with 3 main lobes with hairs on the upper and lower surfaces. The spectacular solitary flowers are 35-60 mm wide with no petals and subtended by 3 showy yellow, sepal-like bracts. The ovoid fruit is chambered.
Required Growing Conditions
For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. The shrub is found from 400-2200 m in chaparral, oak woodland, and pine forests in the California Floristic Province, Arizona, and down to Baja California.
Cultivation and Care
The plants grow in extremely rocky areas and are often found in crevices of rocks. In southern California, these plants are found in areas containing very gritty soil and low rainfall. Buy small seedlings and plant them in the fall in a pile of roadfill with no clay (mostly gravel and rock and very little soil). Plant the seedlings in mounds in full sun. Plant in shallow holes and make sure that no soil covers the top of the ball of soil that contains the seedlings. Cover the soil with gravel and rock, then water. Keep the mound moist until new growth is several inches long (not over 4 inches), then stop watering. Water at the edge of the mound making sure that the water doesn't get within fifteen inches of the trunk of the plant. Leave the shrub alone from then on and use no fertilizer.
General Upkeep and Control
You can prune this shrub at any time of the year. Tribes in the Sierra Nevada burned individual shrubs or areas where the shrubs grew in the fall or winter to induce rapid elongation of young epicormic branches which were harvested and split for cordage.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA