This species used to exist on the mainland in ancient times, but no it only lives on the Channel Islands and in cultivation. Someone mentioned that they don't reproduce in the wild. Can anyone confirm that? What's the best source on this species?
Rather fantastic moment of the day when Jerry stopped the truck and told us about this primitive tree that has a different species on each of the islands. He's discovered two moths hosting on it..
SF Butterfly Count. Bob Hall, my wingman for the day, I.d.ed this from " The Trees of San Francisco "
Probably a planted specimen.
These ironwoods are native only to the Channel Islands off Southern California. The island ironwood, Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifolius, is found on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Clemente Islands. Another related subspecies, Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. floribundus, the Catalina ironwood, is native to Catalina Island. The Island Ironwood has compound fern-like leaves, hence the name “asplenifolius” ... “like asplenium” (a fern). The Catalina ironwood has simple (undivided) leaves, though leaves on sucker shoots occasionally show rudimentary division.
In the 1930s, fossils showed that the tree once flourished on the mainland during the Miocene period some 6 million to 18 million years ago. The distinctive leaves and venation of Lyonothamnus make fossils relatively easy to identify. The fossilized leaves have long narrow primary segments with many secondary segments, and the best preserved fossils show the characteristic venation as well. All fossil Lyonothamnus have compound leaves, similar to those of the island ironwood, suggesting that this is the more common form and that the simple leaves of the Catalina ironwood are a relatively-recent evolutionary development.
Lyonothamnus is a monotypic genus of trees in the rose family containing the single living species Lyonothamnus floribundus, which is known by the common name Catalina ironwood, and the subspecies L. f. ssp. aspleniifolius and L. f. ssp. floribundus.