Chamise, Common chamise, Greasewood
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
An erect evergreen shrub with alternating clusters of tiny needlelike leaves and large basal burl. 6-10 ft., wide-spreading shrub, with small, linear leaves and reddish bark becoming shreddy with age. Tiny, tubular, white flowers are grouped in showy, terminal clusters.
This is the dominant chaparral plant throughout most of California, often forming pure, impenetrable stands. Also known as Greasewood, the shrub contains highly flammable resins, which cause it to burn rapidly when ignited. Following a fire, Chamise sprouts rapidly from its basal burl (root crown) and soon outgrows most competitors. Chamise further reduces competition by releasing toxins into the soil that inhibit or prevent the growth of most other plants. Chamise becomes dormant during the hottest, driest period of summer, and sheds both branches and bark in an effort to reduce the amount of tissue requiring moisture. These sloughed materials then serve as fuel for the next fire.
No images of this plant
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: White with pale yellow stamens.
, NV Native Distribution:
Coast Ranges in CA
from Mendocino Co. s.; also foothills of Sierra Nevada Native Habitat:
Dry slopes & ridges; chaparral & mesas below 5,000 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Heat Tolerant:
Well-drained sand, clay or gravel. Conditions Comments:
Used as a screen or windbreak and as erosion control. This shrub
can constitute an extreme fire hazard. Fire resistance is enhanced with a once/month, indirect watering.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Can be hedged.
Use Wildlife: Its principal value to wildlife lies in providing cover, for the tough, resinous foliage is unpalatable.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Last Update: 2009-02-20