The Coastal Bushmallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus) is a shrub native to California and Baja California, Mexico. This species grows 1 - 5 m in height and width. The branches are slender and covered in tiny hairs. The leaves are covered in hairs as well, or trichomes, and vary from sparse to velvety, giving them a woolly look on the top and underside of the leaf. The leaves are palmate and lobed (3-5) and are 2 – 8 cm long.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – A view of a large Coastal Bushmallow coming into bloom.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – Small hairs, or trichomes cover the leaves of the Coastal Bushmallow.
The blooming season for the Coastal Bushmallow is from April to July. This species has just started blooming at Cabrillo National Monument. The flowers are clustered along the stems and are cup shaped with 5 petals 1-3 cm long. Blooming branches are showy and attract many pollinators when open.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – A close-up of a bud cluster on the stem.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – A single flower of the Coastal Bushmallow.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – Flowers are arranged in clusters along the stem.
The Coastal Bushmallow is a favorite of many pollinators. There are a variety of native flies and bees that fly from bloom to bloom collecting nectar while pollinating the flowers. This time of year these plants are buzzing with activity as the many blooms attract a host of eager pollinators.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – A bee is gathering nectar and has pollen on its thorax, abdomen, and legs.
NPS Photo/Andrew Rosales – A bee begins to enter a flower.
As we move into the next phase of blooming plants here at Cabrillo National Monument, come see one of these pink shrubs, the Coastal Bushmallow as it begins to show its true colors.
May 16, 2019
Last updated: May 16, 2019