Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fremontodendron californicum at Kennedy School

Driving past McMenamins Kennedy School last week a blur of yellow caught my attention. I knew immediately what it was; their huge Fremontodendron californicum. I pulled over.

I planted one of these in my front garden years ago, it died. Oh well, I can admire this one so it's almost as good as having my own. Maybe better!

While out on walks I like to pick up leaves, moss, sticks, seed pods, and the like. A few years ago I put a couple Fremontodendron seed pods from this shrub in a coat pocket. That's a mistake I'll only make once, they're just as prickly as the leaves can be. From the L.A. Times: "Fremontodendrons come armored. While a USDA Forest Service information sheet identifies the leaves as edible by ruminants, they are highly irritating to humans. Under the microscope, tiny hairs look like medieval maces, said O’Brien. “Think of them as having projecting spines in every direction. If you’re doing any maintenance or raking up dead flowers or leaves, do that last and go take a shower and put those clothes into the laundry as soon as possible.” San Marcos Growers advises wearing goggles."

The whole article is interesting, read it here: The Dry Garden: Stunning flannel bush comes with prickly problems. Meanwhile I'll just be standing here admiring this dangerous beauty.

Weather Diary, May 22: Hi 74, Low 51/ Precip .11

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

16 comments:

  1. It is beautiful in flower. I remember seeing it during the San Francisco Fling and hearing it might be hardy here I did some research. As soon as I read about all those prickly hairs I gave up the pursuit. I like Agaves despite their pokiness, but all those irritating tiny hairs would have driven me nuts.

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    1. Ya they're no fun, beautiful as the tree is.

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  2. It's a beauty. Probably have never noticed the spikes on mine because it's in the middle of a parking strip.

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    1. If I didn't know how big your parking strips are this would be an odd statement. Can you imagine them in my parking strips?

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  3. Even for someone who enjoys the dangerous elements of plants (you!), the Fremontodendron presents real challenges, which may explain why I so seldom see it down this way. Best in a wild area perhaps. It is an attractive shrub.

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    1. Interesting that you don't see it much in your part of the world.

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  4. It's beautiful, but it makes thorny roses sound easier to handle. Maybe it was fortuitous that yours died!

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    1. Yes I think it was. It gets quite large as well, and my garden is so small.

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  5. Plant it next to your Tetrapanax and you'll have a corner that's extra dangerous! (don't touch, don't breathe, wear goggles!)

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  6. So gorgeous with the blue yucca foliage! Even leaving aside the serious prickliness, it's better admired in a garden with plenty of room for it. Cramscaping and prickles: asking for trouble.

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  7. AnonymousMay 23, 2019

    So many things are best admired from a distance.
    rickii

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  8. At least with Agaves the danger is clear and present. Those lovely and inviting flowers are deceiving. Defiantly love it from afar.
    English is my second language, and I speak it quite well, but I had to look up "ruminants". It's my new favorite word.

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