Greasewood

Botanical Name :Adenostoma fasciculatum
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Adenostoma
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. fasciculatum

Common name: Greasewood, Chamise.

Habitat: South-western N. America – California to Mexico. . Poor depleted soils and dry hot slopes in the Chaparrel in Mexico. Dense thickets among the coastal hills of California.

Description :
An evergreen Shrub .It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

It is an evergreen shrub growing three to four m tall, with dry-looking stick-like branches. The leaves are small, 4–10 mm long  and one mm broad with a pointed apex, and sprout in clusters from the branches. These clusters are known as fascicles, and give the species its Latin name. The leaves are shiny with flammable oils, especially in warmer weather. The branches terminate in bunches of white tubular flowers five mm diameter, with five petals and long stamens. The fruit is a dry achene.
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The oily leaves give rise to the common name greasewood; however, the species Sarcobatus vermiculatus is more appropriately called by that name.

There are two varieties which differ from each other in minor characters; they are not accepted as distinct by all authors:

A. f. var. fasciculatum. Leaves 5-10 mm, apex sharp; shoots hairless.
A. f. var. obtusifolium. Leaves 4-6 mm, apex blunt; shoots slightly hairy.

It is very drought tolerant and adaptable, with the ability to grow in nutrient-poor, barren soil and on dry, rocky outcrops. It can be found in serpentine soils, which are generally inhospitable to most plants, as well as in slate, sand, clay, and gravel soils. Chaparral habitats are known for their fierce periodical wildfires, and like other chaparral flora, chamise dries out, burns, and recovers quickly to thrive once again. It is a plant that controls erosion well, sprouting from ground level in low basal crowns that remain after fires, preventing the bare soil from being washed away.

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Chamise grows in dense, monotypic stands that cover the dry hills of coastal California. These thickets of chamise are sometimes called chamissal. The species also gives its name to a specific chaparral (i.e. Adenostoma fasciculatum chaparral) dominated by A. fasciculatum, according to C.Michael Hogan. In this chaparral type toyon may also be a co-dominant

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :-
Requires a sheltered sunny position in a well-drained soil and protection from cold winds. Plants are not very hardy in Britain and do not withstand exposure to prolonged winter frosts though they succeed outdoors in the milder areas of the country In colder areas they are best grown against a south or south-west facing wall. The leaves are resinous and catch fire easily. They have a pleasant aroma.

Propagation:-
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse or cold frame, planting them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings could be tried in August of half-ripe wood, preferably with a heel, in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Actions & Uses :-
Antirheumatic; Disinfectant.
A decoction of the leaves and branches has been applied externally in the treatment of rheumatism and as a wash for infected, sore or swollen parts of the body.

Other Uses:-
Adhesive; Basketry; Fuel; Lighting; Soil stabilization.
The wood has been used in basketry. A gum from the plant has been used as a glue. Plants have an extensive spreading root system that helps to bind the soil together. They are planted on slopes and other fragile soils for the prevention of soil erosion. Large roots burn well and have been used for firewood. Branches have been tied together then burnt for use as a torch.

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves are resinous and have a pleasant aroma.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adenostoma+fasciculatum
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/adenostoma-fasciculatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenostoma_fasciculatum

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