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Lyonothamnus floribundus (Catalina ironwood)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Lyonothamnus floribundus

Lyonothamnus floribundus A. Gray

Catalina Ironwood, Lyontree

Rosaceae (Rose Family)


USDA Symbol: LYFL2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Evergreen shrub with several crooked stems or occasionally a small tree with straight trunk.

Lyontree occurs in two forms; the tree with mostly simple leaves is confined to Santa Catalina Island; the shrub (or sometimes tree) with pinnately compound leaves is found on the other islands. Both are grown as ornamentals in California. Indians made the tough wood, known locally as "Ironwood," into spear handles and shafts, and European settlers used it for making fishing poles and canes.

It is placed alone in a distinct genus. The genus name, meaning "Lyon's shrub," honors the discoverer, William Scrugham Lyon (1852-1916), a U.S. horticulturist and forester.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 50 feet tall.
Fruit: Aggregated follicles.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


Native Distribution: Only on Santa Rose, Santa Cruz, Santa Catalina, and San Clemente Islands of California; at 500-2000' (152-610 m).
Native Habitat: Dry, rocky soils of canyons and chaparral.


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lyonothamnus floribundus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lyonothamnus floribundus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lyonothamnus floribundus


Record Modified: 2023-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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