January 27, 2020

Fremontodendron californicum
Activate: Powerful voice
Message: Let it all out.

There's one particular California Glory tree in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens that I am always drawn to. Every time I see it, it provokes a different reaction. The first time it was wonder. Another time it was hysterical laughter. The last visit it provoked insightful conversation. Every time I see this tree, it calls out, and I end up hanging out near it for a while.


A spectacular flowering tree native to California, California Glory is also known as Flannelbush. It is found in diverse habitats across southwestern North America, generally preferring sandy washes near seasonal creeks and well-drained hillsides that get plenty of rainfall. Incredibly fast growing under ideal conditions, it can reach 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide in only five years!

California Glory’s velvety leaves resemble the texture of flannel; the hairs - which are easily brushed of with contact - can be irritating to the skin and eyes. It blooms through spring and summer in great abundance, with showy yellow flowers that tend to bloom one at time.

Botanically speaking, California Glory is part of a plant family more commonly found in the tropics, and related to both cacao and the cola nut! Local indigenous peoples would use the bark for making fibers.


If you’re attracted to California Glory, you may be feeling a sense of hesitancy or holding back, stemming from a fear that things will not work out. You may find yourself caught in a mindset of lack, convinced that you aren’t able to get what you want. Or you may continually wonder when ‘the other shoe will drop.’

Occasionally you may be stiff + tentative, with a tendency to close off your heart to others out of resentment or fear they may take something from you. There may be a desire to hide or put up false pretenses, so that you may be protected from others + their scrutiny.

What it Catalyzes

California Glory encourages our innate open-heartedness, inspiring a welcoming feeling, cheerfulness + generosity. There is a sense of full enjoyment of life, of being able to jump into anything with wild abandon. We’re able to express ourselves with a bigger voice and bigger presence by being unabashedly ourselves with others.

We are unafraid to share our full, wild selves with the world, able to strip down and be naked with others - and ourselves. Embracing ourselves fully in the world, we feel awake, aware + free.

It is notably helpful for public speaking, singing and vocal arts, as well as any aspect in our life that benefits from being seen.

In Essence

{Magnifies}:Powerful voice; cheerfulness; baring all; being seen; bigger presence

{Dissolves}: Hesitancy, tentativeness; resentment; closed heart; fear of things not working out; fear of others taking from us

Love + flower petals,