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Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise)
Reveal, James L.

Adenostoma fasciculatum

Adenostoma fasciculatum Hook. & Arn.

Chamise, Common Chamise, Greasewood

Rosaceae (Rose Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

26 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Height 2-10 feet, spread to 5 feet.
Leaf: Dark olive-green

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

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation 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 Directory

According 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


Bibref 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.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Adenostoma fasciculatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Adenostoma fasciculatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Adenostoma fasciculatum


Record Modified: 2019-12-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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