Fire Resistant Plant List

Native Fire Fire Resistant Plant Species of San Mateo County

Select from this list of fire resistant plants, or consult a professional for additional species.  Plants on this list can be found at most commercial nurseries specializing in native plants.  Some plants will do well along the coast, others in the warmer inland areas.  A native plant nursery will recommend plants suited to your specific habitat conditions.  Remember: even fire resistant plants can be hazardous when not maintained.

Common native and non-native firesafe plant species in San Mateo County, CA.

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NATIVE SHRUBS

Coffeeberry (prostrate)Rhamnus californica

Spiny redberry Rhamnus crocea 

Calif. lilac (many spp.)Ceanothus spp.

Golden-yarrow Eriophyllum confertiflorum

California rose Rosa californica 

Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus

Creeping snowberry Symphoricarpos mollis 

Silk tassel bush Garrya elliptica

Toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia 

Western redbud Cercis occidentalis 

Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 

Manzinitas Arctostaphylos spp. 

Bush poppy Dendromecon rigida 

Coyote brush Baccharis pilularis

Currant (many species) Ribes spp. 

Holly-leafed cherry Prunus ilicifolia

Mountain mahogany Cercocarpus betuloides

NATIVE SHRUBS (RIPARIAN OR IRRIGATED AREAS)

Mock orange Philadelphus lewisii 

California barberry Berberis pinnata 

Blue elderberry Sambucus mexicana 

Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus 

Creek dogwood Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis

Flowering currant Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

Bush anemone Carpenteria californica

NATIVE PERENNIALS

Yarrow Achillea millefolium 

California poppy Eschscholtzia californica 

Chaparral penstemon Penstemon heterophyllus 

Firecracker penstemon Penstemon centranthifolius 

California buttercup Ranunculus californica 

Hummingbird sage Salvia spathacea 

Western columbine Aquilegia formosa 

Sticky monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus 

California fuchsia Epilobium canum 

California goldenrod Solidago californica 

Creeping sage Salvia sonomensis 

Coyote mint Monardella villosa 

NATIVE FERNS 

Western sword fern Polystichum munitum 

Giant chain fern Woodwardia fimbriata 

Coastal wood fern Dryopteris arguta 

Bracken Pteridium aquilinum 

NATIVE GROUNDCOVERS, BUNCHGRASSES 

Blue-eyed grass Sisyrinchium bellum 

Douglas’ iris Iris douglasiana

Yerba buena Satureja douglasii 

Strawberry Fragaria vesca 

Dudleya Dudleya cymosa 

Pacific stonecrop Sedum spathulifolium 

Spreading rush Juncus patens 

Foothill sedge Carex tumulicola 

Purple needlegrass Nassella pulchra 

Deer grass Muhlenbergia rigens 

California fescue Festuca californica

NATIVE TREES 

Coast live oak Quercus agrifolia 

Black oak Quercus kelloggii 

Canyon live oak Quercus chrysolepsis 

California buckeye Aesculus californica 

Madrone Arbutus menziesii 

Catalina ironwood Lyonothamnus floribundus 

NATIVE TREES (RIPARIAN OR IRRIGATED AREAS) 

Coast redwood Sequoia sempervirens 

Western sycamore Platanus racemosa

Valley oak Quercus lobata 

Willows Salix spp.

Big-leaf maple Acer macrophyllum 

*All plants on this list should be properly irrigated according the individual species' needs, and must be maintained free of dead twigs and leaves in order to remain fire-resistant.  Drought stressed plants, or plants with dead twigs and leaves, can burn during a wildfire, regardless of species.

Codes and Law

Defensible Space Codes

Public Resources Code 4291
State Fire Safe Regulations and defensible space codes.

CA Code of Regulations Title 14
Fire Safe Regulations dealing with emergency access, address signage and water standards

Guidelines to Creating Defensible Space
(Adopted by the Board of Forestry 2/8/06)

Building Codes

CA Building Code Chapter 7A
Building materials and construction methods for exterior wildfire exposure. 

CA Fire Code Chapter 47
Standards to increase a buildings ability to resist flames and burning embers. - See more here...