Adenostoma fasciculatum Hook. & Arn. var. fasciculatum

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Chamise is an erect to spreading, much-branched shrub growing to 12' tall and is one of the dominant plants of the chaparral community, often forming almost pure and dense stands.  The bark is reddish to gray-brown, becoming somewhat shreddy as it ages, and the twigs are glabrous to ± hairy.  It has a well-developed basal burl from which it sprouts after a fire, but it also germinates from seed. The leaves are linear, from 3/16" to 3/8" long, thickly fascicled and quite resinous, and there are small acute stipules.  The white flowers are crowded in dense panicles at the terminal ends of the main branches.  Both the five-lobed calyx and the five petals are tiny, and there are 10(-15) stamens and a single pistil.  Chamise is common and abundant on dry slopes below 5000' from Baja California to northern California and the Sierra foothills.  It blooms in May and June.  Another common name for chamise is greasewood, and it is called that because of its high resin content which burns intensely and contributes to the spread of brush fires.  There are two other varieties in Southern California, var. obtusifolium, limited to the Southern South Coast and southwest Peninsular Range, and var. prostratum on the Channel Islands. A closely related species is A. sparsifolium, called red shanks or ribbonbush, which is easily differentiated by its leaves which are not in fascicles.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Adenostoma 2) fasciculatum.
Pronunciation: ad-en-OS-to-ma fa-sik-yoo-LAY-tum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.