Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Found in Imperial, Kern, Monterey, and San Diego Counties, California and Baja California, Mexico (Smith and Berg, 1988). According to the California Natural Diversity Database, Fremontodendron mexicanum is distributed from the border south to Arroyo Seco (North of San Quintin) in Mexico.
U.S.A. (CA), Mexico
Fremontodendron mexicanum can be characterized by leaves palmately 5-7 veined from base; glands at base of sepals glabrous; flowers 6-9 cm across, borne on main twigs; seeds shining, without caruncle (Munz, 1974).
Catalog Number: US 763808
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Davidson
Year Collected: 1917
Locality: Near Ensenada, Baja California Norte, Mexico, North America
- Isotype: Davidson, A. 1917. Bull. S. Calif. Acad. Sci. 16 (2): 50.
Comments: Slopes covered with southern mixed chaparral, closed cone coniferous forest dominated by Tecate cypress (Cupressus forbesii), and canyons. 300-1000 m elevation.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Comments: Twelve, only one of which (Cedar Canyon in United States) has been recently reverified (Fish and Wildlife Service 1995). Ten in the United States; two in Mexico, at least one of which may have been extirpated by a major flood (Rieser 1994 as cited in USFWS 1995). As of 2001, more occurrences of Fremontodendron mexicanum were found in California.
Life History and Behavior
Persistence: PERENNIAL, Long-lived
When fully ripened, the capsule splits open at the tip and the seed are cast from the plant when shaken by wind, hail, or animal disturbances.
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Fremontodendron mexicanum is known with certainty only from southern San Diego County, California and south into Arroyo Seco (North of San Quintin) Baja California, Mexico. The plants have been relocated recently at only one of the twelve known sites despite searches of at least some of the historic locales. The California population is thought to contain fewer than one hundred individuals. The Bureau of Land Management specifically manages its land for this population; the Area of Critical Environmental Concern and the Research Natural Area, on which about 50% of the plant's habitat lies, were designated for the preservation of F. mexicanum. The species is likely susceptible to adverse genetic effects due to the low number of remaining individuals. Another primary threat is from altered fire regimes.
Date Listed: 10/13/1998
Lead Region: California/Nevada Region (Region 8)
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Fremontodendron mexicanum, see its USFWS Species Profile
Comments: The species is likely susceptible to adverse genetic effects because of the low number of individuals in the population (est. <100). Another primary threat is from altered fire regimes as a result of various human-caused fires. Fires that occur at longer or shorter intervals than the natural cycle or during reproductive seasons may imperil the species (Fish and Wildlife Service 1998).
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.
This is an erect, treelike flowering shrub reaching several meters in height with spreading branches. The leathery, furry 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.
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