Fremontodendron (Fremont’s tree) was named for General Fremont, explorer of the West and twice presidential candidate. The General was much involved in the early history of California, and in his travels discovered Fremontia near Sacramento in 1846. This beautiful shrub is found from the Cascades to Baja and in Arizona. It is most at home on the dry, rocky hillsides of the eastern flank of the Sierra, where it grows unnoticed in the chaparral until it bursts into bloom, lining twigs and branches with brilliant 3 inch saucer-shaped waxy yellow “flowers,” which are really sepals with dusky apricot backsides. The leaves are dull, hairy, triangularly lobed, sometimes irritating to the skin, and tough enough for the early settlers to use to pad their shoes.