Flannelbush, Fremontodendron californica, at the Tree of Life Nursery California Native Plants.

On the Tree of Life website, Mike Evans, the spectacularly knowledgeable and visionary co-owner of the nursery, describes flannelbush as “one of California’s floral gems.” This floral over-achiever certainly is an exquisite and very large gem. Fremontodendron californica can reach a height of 20 feet tall and spread to 15 feet. One of the hybrids, California Glory, can top 20 x 30 feet.

Mike also writes that flannelbush grows on dry, sunny slopes throughout the state. I’ve never actually seen it one the wild, only at Tree of Life, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, and my own backyard where I’ve planted one a few years ago, and two more last year. So I’d love to be overwhelmed by the site of a full blooming flannelbush in the wild . . .

I had the privilege of traveling to Baja with Mike Evans and his daughter Debbie with several other friends. We made a pilgrimage to see the plants of Baja, including the elephant trees and boojums at Cataviña, the migrating whales, and the famous Baja rock art further south.

Above is a boojum tree on the left. The name boojum is from Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark.

The boojum tree, Fouquieria columnaris, is considered one of the most bizarre plants on the planet. Above you can see a few boojums in the early dawn light at Cataviña. But if you can’t make a trip to Baja, you can see boojums at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, located just before their native plant garden. But I digress . . . . Below is one more native plant at the Tree of Life .

Above is a pitcher sage, Lepechinia calycina. One of my favorite fragrances.

Posted by deborah small

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