Adenostoma fasciculatum Hook. & Arn.
Chamise, Common chamise, Greasewood
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
USDA Symbol: adfa
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate , Fascicled
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Apex: Acute
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: Height 2-10 feet, spread to 5 feet.
Leaf: Dark olive-green
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: White with pale yellow stamens.
DistributionUSA: CA , 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: 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.
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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Can be propagated by seed.
Seed Treatment: Hard seed coats require scarification. Soak in H2SO4 for 15 minutes or sow seeds in soil in flats and burn pine needles on the soil surface.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 698 - Native Plants for Use in the California Landscape (1978) Labadie, E. L.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Adenostoma fasciculatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Adenostoma fasciculatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Adenostoma fasciculatum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff