Fire Resistant Plants

Fire Safe PlantsChoosing Fire-Resistant Plants

  • Use this list as a reference for fire resistant plants suitable for Marin's climate and soils.
  • There are no “fire-proof” plants!  Even the most resistant plants must be maintained in good health, properly irrigated, and free of dead material, dry twigs, or fallen leaves and needles.
  • Select fire-resistant hedge plants for screening, which may help catch wind-blown embers if properly spaced and maintained.
  • Plant hardwood trees from this list that are less flammable than conifers like pine and fir.
  • Use proper spacing between plants to slow the spread of fire.  More space is required on slopes.

 

Hollyleaf Cherry

Prunus ilicifolia
  • Hollyleaf Cherry
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Hopbush

Dodonaea viscosa
  • Hopbush
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

India Hawthorn

Rhapiolepis spp.
  • India Hawthorn
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Iris

Iris spp.
  • Iris
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Island Alum Root

Heuchera maxima
  • Island Alum Root
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Ivy Geranium

Pelargonium peltatum
  • Ivy Geranium
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Jojoba

Simmondsia chinensis
  • Jojoba
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Karo

Pittosporum crassifolium
  • Karo
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

  • Lady Banks' Rose
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lamb's Ears

Stachys byzantina
  • Lamb's Ears
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lantana

Lantana montevidensis
  • Lantana
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

laurel-leaved snail tree

Cocculus laurifolills
  • laurel-leaved snail tree
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lavender

Lavandula spp.
  • Lavender
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lavender Cotton

Lavender Cotton

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Fragrant, dense mound with attractive grayish-silver foliage. Displays small, bright yellow flowers in summer. Attractive groundcover or edging for walks or borders. Good foreground for herb garden. Drought tolerant when established. Evergreen.

  • Lavender Cotton
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No
  • Lavender Cotton

Lemonade Berry

Rhus integrifolia
  • Lemonade Berry
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lemonwood

Pittosporum eugenoides
  • Lemonwood
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lily-of-the-Nile

Agapanthus spp.
  • Lily-of-the-Nile
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lizardtail

Eriophyllum stachaedifolium
  • Lizardtail
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

Loquat

Eriobotrya japonica
  • Loquat
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Lupine

Lupinus spp.
  • Lupine
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

Macadamia Nut

Macadamia hybrids
  • Macadamia Nut
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Malva Rose (Tree Mallow)

Lavatera assurgentiflora
  • Malva Rose (Tree Mallow)
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Maple

Maple

Acer spp.

Acer (maple) species recommended for Marin:

Acer circinatumVINE MAPLE

  • Vine Maple does well in cooler climates, or in shaded locations which are relatively moist. It tolerates a wide variety of soils but prefers a fairly fertile, moist soil which is rich in humus. It is quite hardy but suffers in hot, dry conditions. A smaller alternative to Japanese Maple, as a patio or lawn specimen, but not as a shade tree per se. It usually develops multi-trunks, and makes a very attractive specimen with a low, broad, foliage canopy with an interesting habit. Good stream-side tree.

    Native to California.

Acer circinatum - photo

Acer palmatumJAPANESE MAPLE

  • Japanese Maple is a commonly used accent tree in lawns or moderately moist settings, beneath an overstory of taller shade trees, and as a residential patio tree. It prefers a moist, well-drained loam with plenty of added humus. It is resistant to oak root fungus and green- leaf varieties can tolerate more sun. There are a multitude of hybrids, including variegated, laceleaf, miniature and purple-leaved varieties. Varieties 'Atropurpureum' and 'Bloodgood' may eventually require regularly scheduled light top-trimming (but not necessarily shearing) of vigorous top shoots to maintain heights below 25'.

    Native to Japan and Korea.

Acer palmatum - photo

Acer palmatum 'Ornatum'RED LACELEAF JAPANESE MAPLE

  • Utility friendly tree.

    Branches don't droop and resist breakage.

  • Maple
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No
  • Maple

Matilija Poppy

Romneya coulteri
  • Matilija Poppy
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Mexican Evening Primrose

Oenothera berlandieri
  • Mexican Evening Primrose
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

  • Mock Orange Pittosporum
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

  • Monkey Flower
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

Mountain Ironwood

Cercocarpus betuloides
  • Mountain Ironwood
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

Natal Plum

Carissa grandiflora
  • Natal Plum
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

New Zealand Christmas Tree

New Zealand Christmas Tree

Metrosideros excelsa

General Notes

Drought resistant and smog tolerant. Forms areal roots that descend to the ground and take root. These can become extra trunks that provide additional support. Resistant to salt spray. A good coastal tree. Can grow taller if conditions a right.

Native to New Zealand.

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonyms

Metrosideros exelsus 
Metrosideros tomentosa

Additional Common Names

NEW ZEALAND CHRISTMAS TREE, POHUTUKAWA

Tree Characteristics

Erect or Spreading with a Low Canopy.

Oval or Rounded Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 30 - 35 feet.

Width: 30 - 35 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.

Longevity 50 to 150 years.

Leaves Oblong to Ovate, Glossy Dark Green or White, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Showy. Red. Flowers in Spring or Summer. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Brown or Gray Capsule, Small (0.25 - 0.50 inches), fruiting in Summer or Fall.

Bark Dark Brown.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate to Dense in Leaf.

Litter Issue is Dry Fruit.

Tree Site Conditions & Constraints

Sunset Zones 16 - 17 and 23 - 24; H1, H2.

USDA Hardiness Zones 10 - 11.

Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade.

Moist to Dry Soil.

Drought tolerant.

Loam or Sand Texture.

Neutral to Slightly Alkaline Soil pH.

Salinity Tolerance is Coastal Good.

Seaside Tolerance is Good in Moderate Zone.

Pests & Disease Information

Susceptible to Phytophthora and Root Rot.

Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns

Branch Strength Rated as Medium.

Root Damage Potential Rated as Moderate.

None Known Health Hazard.

Biogenic Emissions considered High.

Fire Resistance is Favorable.

Attracts Birds.

Special Uses & Values

Screen.

Hedged.

Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Metrosideros excelsa Tree Record." 1995-2017. May 4, 2017.
< http://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/metrosideros-excelsa >

  • New Zealand Christmas Tree
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No
  • New Zealand Christmas Tree

Nolina

Nolina spp.
  • Nolina
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Pacific Wax Myrtle

Myrica coliforniaca
  • Pacific Wax Myrtle
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Perennial Verbena

Verbena peruviana
  • Perennial Verbena
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Photinia

Photinia x fraseri
  • Photinia
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Pineapple Guava

Feijoa sellowiana
  • Pineapple Guava
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Pink Honeysuckle

Lonicera hispidula
  • Pink Honeysuckle
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

Pomegranate

Punica granatum
  • Pomegranate
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Potato Vine

Solanum jasminoides
  • Potato Vine
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

Privet

Ligustrum spp
  • Privet
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: No

  • Purple Nightshade
  • Recommendation: Prefer
  • Fire Resistance: Very Good
  • Native: Yes

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