Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Adenostoma fasciculatum

Chamise, Common chamise, Greasewood

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise)
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.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate , Fascicled
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Apex: Acute
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Panicle
Size Notes: Height 2-10 feet, spread to 5 feet.
Leaf: Dark olive-green
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: White with pale yellow stamens.


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 Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: 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.


Use 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