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SPECIES:  Garrya fremontii
Bearbrush. Image used with permission of J. E.(Jed) and Bonnie McClellan, © California Academy of Sciences.


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION: Howard, Janet L. 1992. Garrya fremontii. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: []. Revisions: On 10 July 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS from: flannel bush to: bearbrush. Images were also added.
ABBREVIATION: GARFRE SYNONYMS: Garrya fremontii var. fremontii Garrya fremontii var. laxa Eastw. [11,15] Garrya rigida Eastw. NRCS PLANT CODE: GAFR COMMON NAMES: bearbrush California fever bush flannel bush Bearbrush quinine bush silktassel bush TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of bearbrush is Garrya fremontii Torr. (Garryaceae) [11,15]. LIFE FORM: Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: Washington has put bearbrush on the state's monitor list under Group 3: more abundant and/or less threatened than previously assumed [24].


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Bearbrush occurs in Washington, Oregon, and California [11,15,22]. It is distributed along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, and in the Klamath Mountains and Coast Ranges from Josephine and Jackson counties, Oregon south to Monterey County, California. In the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada, it occurs from Lane County, Oregon south to Madera County, California [11,16]. A disjunct population occurs in the Transverse and Peninsular ranges in Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties, California [16]. G. fremontii var. laxa occurs in Trinity County, California [11].
Distribution of bearbrush. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, July 10] [27].
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES27  Redwood
   FRES28  Western hardwoods
   FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub

     CA  OR  WA

   1  Northern Pacific Border
   2  Cascade Mountains
   3  Southern Pacific Border
   4  Sierra Mountains
   5  Columbian Plateau

   K005  Mixed conifer forest
   K006  Redwood forest
   K007  Red fir forest
   K010  Ponderosa shrub forest
   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K026  Oregon oakwoods
   K028  Mosaic of K002 and K026
   K029  California mixed evergreen forest
   K030  California oakwoods
   K033  Chaparral
   K034  Montane chaparral

   229  Pacific Douglas-fir
   230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock
   231  Port-Orford-cedar
   232  Redwood
   233  Oregon white oak
   234  Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
   243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
   244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
   245  Pacific ponderosa pine
   246  California black oak
   247  Jeffrey pine
   248  Knobcone pine
   249  Canyon live oak
   250  Blue oak - Digger pine
   255  California coast live oak


Bearbrush usually occurs as scattered individuals throughout
the chaparral zone, although it is dominant in some localities [25].
Bearbrush is listed as a dominant or codominant species in
vegetation types (vts) in the following published classifications

Area               Classification            Authority          
Ca:Marble Mts.     montane chaparral vts     Muth 1980
Ca:Santa Ana Mts.  chamise chaparral         Vogl 1976


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE: Bearbrush is browsed by livestock and mule deer in winter and spring [2,3]. It is one of the principal winter browse species on some Oregon ranges [26]. The fruit is eaten by various chaparral animals including songbirds, mountain quail, gray fox, and rodents [18,22]. PALATABILITY: Bearbrush fruit is palatable to birds and various mammals. Older leaves and twigs contain a bitter alkaloid that makes them unpalatable to some browsers. Sprouts, however, are highly palatable to mule deer and all classes of livestock. The relish and degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for bearbrush leaves and twigs in California is rated as follows [22]: mule deer - good cattle - poor horses - poor goats - good sheep - fair to good NUTRITIONAL VALUE: The protein content of bearbrush varies from 12.0 percent in May and June to 5.1 percent in August [2]. COVER VALUE: Bearbrush provides good cover for black bear, mule deer, and various birds and small mammals [18]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES: Bearbrush can be used for wildlife habitat and watershed rehabilitation. It is easily cultivated from stem cuttings or seed, and transplants well. Nursery-grown seedlings transplanted in the Klamath River Canyon, California showed an 84 percent survival rate after 17 years [8]. Seed can be obtained by harvesting native plants. Cultivation methods have been detailed [21]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: Bearbrush's shiny, yellow-green leaves, showy yellow panicles, and purple berries make it an attractive landscaping ornamental [21,22]. Garryine, an alkaloid extracted from bearbrush, was used by early settlers as a tonic [22]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Timber: Because bearbrush occurs as widely scattered individuals in most areas, it is usually not a serious competitor of timber species. Bearbrush is difficult to control where it grows in dominant stands, however. It will sprout following hand release or controlled burning. Some chemical treatments may not be effective, since Garrya species show resistance to many foliar sprays. Phenoxy compounds, rated as intermediate in effectiveness for this genus, may be the best choice for timberland spraying. Application methods have been detailed. Bearbrush may sprout following die-back from chemical spraying [4].


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Bearbrush is a dioecious, erect, many-branched, native evergreen shrub from 5 to 15 feet (1.5-4.5 m) in height. The leaves and fruits are glabrous to thickly pubescent. The small flowers are borne on racemes. Garrya fremontii var. fremontii is distinguished by thickly pubescent leaves and fruits and thick, crowded racemes. G. fremontii var. laxa has glabrous to finely pubescent leaves and fruits, and thinner, less compact racemes. The fruit is a berry with from one to four thin-coated seeds [11,14,15,22]. Details concerning the rooting habits of this species or this genus are lacking. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM: Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES: Sexual: Bearbrush reproduces by seed [8,15,21,22]. Plants produce seed at eight years of age. Seed falls under the parent plant or is dispersed by animals [3]. Germination requires overwinter stratification. Fresh seed viability is 85 to 99 percent, but viability decreases with age. Mirov [14] reported a germination success rate of 24 percent for 3-year-old seeds under laboratory conditions. Bearbrush seedlings are poor competitors, and their survival rate is low. First-year nursery seedlings have shown 69 percent mortality [8]. Vegetative: Bearbrush sprouts from the root crown or stump [3,8,22]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Soil and topography: Bearbrush grows in well-drained, slightly acidic, typic Xerochrept soil with 50 to 60 percent coarse fragment [12]. Soil nutrient levels are low, and moisture is low from mid-spring to mid-fall [3,18,19]. The species will tolerate serpentine soil [7,24]. Typical topography includes rocky slopes, rolling hills, or steep canyons [19]. Climate: Bearbrush grows in a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers [18]. Elevation: Bearbrush occurs from 2,500 to 7,000 feet (762-2,134 m) [22]. Associated species: The associated species of bearbrush include Colter pine (Pinus coulteri), white fir (Abies concolor), deer oak (Quercus sadleriana), scrub oak (Q. dumosa), manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus), redbud (Cercis occidentalis), birchleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum), chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), soft chess (Bromus mollis), foxtail fescue (Festuca magalura), cutleaf filaree (Erodium cicutarium), and various clovers (Trifolium spp.) [5,17,18,19,23]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Bearbrush is found in all stages of succession. Pioneer seedlings grew in a clear-cut area of a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest near Blue River, Oregon [28]. The plant is a sprouting survivor in initial and early seral communities [3,8]. It is shade tolerant [22] and persists until late seral stages in foothill woodland and forest communities, where it may be replaced by oaks, ponderosa or Jeffrey pine (Pinus ponderosa; P. jeffreyi), western white pine (P. monticola), redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), or Douglas-fir. Bearbrush is most common, however, in chaparral communities. These communities are maintained through lack of soil build-up or frequent fire, which prevents permanent invasion of trees. In chaparral, bearbrush is classified as a climax or pyric-climax species [17]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The following seasonal development has been reported for plants in Washington and California [15,21]: growth starts - January to May flowering - January to May seed ripe - August to December dissemination begins - September to December dissemination over - November to January


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS: Bearbrush sprouts from the root crown following fire [3,8,22]. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY: survivor species; on-site surviving root crown off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1 & 2


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT: Severe fire top-kills bearbrush. Severe fire also kills the thin-coated seed unless it is buried 1 inch (0.4 cm) or more below the soil surface [8,21]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT: NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Bearbrush recovers from fire rapidly. Everett [8] reported a 92 percent survival rate for plants that were scorched or burned to ground level following a severe fire in Humboldt County, California. Top-killed plants sprout vigorously in the first postfire growing season. Partially burned plants grow new shoots from the unburned portions of their branches. New shoots produce flowers and fruits at the second postfire growing season. By postfire year 3, plants have regained or exceeded their original heights [3,8,22]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE: NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Prescribed burning will not significantly affect bearbrush populations. Fire does not stimulate germination of this species, but fire-damaged plants usually regain or exceed their prefire biomass within a few years.


SPECIES: Garrya fremontii
REFERENCES: 1. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 2. Bissell, Harold D.; Strong, Helen. 1955. The crude protein variations in the browse diet of California deer. California Fish and Game. 41(2): 145-155. [10524] 3. Biswell, H. H.; Gilman, J. H. 1961. Brush management in relation to fire and other environmental factors on the Tehama deer winter range. California Fish and Game. 47(4): 357-389. [6275] 4. Bovey, Rodney W. 1977. Response of selected woody plants in the United States to herbicides. Agric. Handb. 493. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 101 p. [8899] 5. Conard, S. G.; Radosevich, S. R. 1982. Post-fire succession in white fir (Abies concolor) vegetation of the northern Sierra Nevada. Madrono. 29(1): 42-56. [4931] 6. Dasmann, Raymond Fredric. 1954. Ecology and social behavior of a population of the Columbian black-tailed deer. Berkeley, CA: University of California. 155 p. Dissertation. [17402] 7. Dodd, Richard S. 1992. Noteworthy collections: California. Madrono. 39(1): 79. [17536] 8. Everett, Percy C. 1957. A summary of the culture of California plants at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1927-1950. Claremont, CA: The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. 223 p. [7191] 9. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 10. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 11. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1961. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 614 p. [1167] 12. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 13. Mirov, N. T.; Kraebel, C. J. 1937. Collecting and propagating the seeds of California wild plants. Res. Note No. 18. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, California Forest and Range Experiment Station. 27 p. [9787] 14. Mooney, H. A.; Dunn, E. L.; Shropshire, Frances; Song, Leo. 1970. Vegetation comparisons between the Mediterranean climatic areas of California and Chile. Flora. 159: 480-496. [13591] 15. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155] 16. Munz, Philip A. 1974. A flora of southern California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1086 p. [4924] 17. Muth, Gilbert Jerome. 1980. Quercus saderiana R. Br. Campst., its distribution, ecology, and relationships to other oaks. In: Plumb, Timothy R., technical coordinator. Proceedings of the symposium on the ecology, management and utilization of California oaks; 1979 June 26-28; Claremont, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-44. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 75-80. [7017] 18. Pase, Charles P. 1982. Californian (coastal) chaparral. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 91-94. [8891] 19. Powers, Robert F. 1990. Pinus sabiniana Dougl. Digger pine. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 463-469. [13406] 20. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 21. Reynolds, Hudson G.; Alexander, Robert R. 1974. Garrya Dougl. silktassel. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 420-421. [7670] 22. Sampson, Arthur W.; Jespersen, Beryl S. 1963. California range brushlands and browse plants. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Division of Agricultural Sciences, California Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service. 162 p. [3240] 23. Vogl, Richard J. 1973. Ecology of knobcone pine in the Santa Ana Mountains, California. Ecological Monographs. 43: 125-143. [4815] 24. Vogl, Richard J. 1976. An introduction to the plant communities of the Santa Ana and San Jacinto Mountains. In: Latting, June, ed. Symposium proceedings: plant communities of southern California; 1974 May 4; Fullerton, CA. Special Publication No. 2. Berkeley, CA: California Native Plant Society: 77-98. [4230] 25. Washington Natural Heritage Program. 1990. Endangered, threatened and sensitive vascular plants of Washington. Olympia, WA: Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Land and Water Conservation. 52 p. [13211] 26. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387] 27. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2018. PLANTS Database, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (Producer). Available: [34262] 28. Yerkes, Vern P. 1960. Occurrence of shrubs and herbaceous vegetation after clear cutting old-growth Douglas-fir. Res. Pap. PNW-34. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [8937]

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