Partial List of Drought-tolerant Plants

The following is a short list of drought-tolerant plant material. This list is only a starting point, and not the final word. Growing conditions in your yard and maintenance techniques and timing affect the relative fire-resistance and drought tolerance of plants. Those which generally have some fire-resistance are noted, as well as those which may suffer freeze damage inland. Spp. indicates more than one species is commonly grown.

R = Plants with some fire-resistance
F = Plants which may freeze inland
Genus Species Common Name
Drought-tolerant Trees
R Arbutus unedo Strawberry Tree
R Ceratonia siliqua Carob Tree
R Cercis occidentalis Western Redbud
. Cercocarpus betuloides Mt. Mahogany
R Quercus agrifolia Coast Live Oak
. Pistacia chinensis
R Rhus lancea African Sumac
Drought-tolerant Shrubs
. Arctostaphylos spp. Manzanita
R Atriplex spp. Saltbush
. Berberis spp. Barberry
. Ceanothus spp. California Lilac
R Cistus spp. Rockrose
R Cotoneaster spp. Cotoneaster
R Cotyledon spp. No common name
R Excallonia spp. Escallonia
R Feijoa sellowiana Pineapple Guava
R Galvesia speciosa Island Bush Snapdragon
. Garrya elliptica ‘Evie’ Garrya
. Gaura lindheimerii Garua
R Heteromeles arbutifolia Toyon
R Nerium oleander Oleander
R Pittosporum spp. Mock Orange
R Prunus ilicifolia Holly-Leaved Cherry
R Prunus lyonii Catalina Cherry
R Punica granatum ‘Nana’ Dwarf Pomegranate
R Pyracantha ‘Santa Cruz’ Pyracantha
. Raphiollepis spp. India Hawthorne
R Rhamnus spp. Coffee Berry
R Rhus integrifolia Lemonade Berry
R Ribes viburnifolium Evergreen Currant
Drought-tolerant Groundcovers
R, F Aloe spp. Aloe
R Armeria spp. Sea Pink
R Cposrosma kirkii
R, F Drosanthemum floribundum Ice Plant
R Duchesnea indica Mock Strawberry
R, F Dymondia margaretae No common name
R Festuca rubra ‘Creeping’ Creeping Red Fescue
R Fragaria chiloensis Wild Strawberry
R Gazania spp. Gazania
. Hypericum calycinum St. John's Wort
R Liriope gigantea Giant Turf Lily
. Mahonia repens Creeping Oregon Grape
R Malephora crocea Ice Plant
R, F Myoporum parvifolium ‘Prostratum’ Myoporuim
R Phyla nodiflora Lippia
R Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ Creeping Rosemary
R, F Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’ Fan Flower
R, F Sedum spp. Stonecrop
Drought-tolerant Perennials
R Achillea spp. Yarrow
R, F Aeonium spp. Succulents
R Agapanthus spp. Lily of the Nile
R, F Agave spp. Agave
R, F Aloe spp. Aloe
. Bergenia spp. Bergenia
. Centaurea gymnocarpa Dusty Miller
R Convolvulus Cneorum Bush Morning Glory
R Coreopsis spp. Coreopsis
R, F Crassula spp. Jade Plant
R Dietes spp. Butterfly Iris
R Diplacus spp. Monkey Flower
R, F Echeveria spp. Hen and Chicks
. Erigeron spp. Eleabane
. Erysimum linifolium Wallflower
R Exchscholzia californica California Polly
. Geranium spp. Geranium
. Helichrysum petiolaturm ‘nanna’ Curry Plant
R Hemerocallis (assorted) Daylily
R Heuchera maxima Coral Bells
R Iris spp. Iris
R Kniphofia uvaria Red Hot Poker
. Koeleria galuca Blue Hair Grass
. Lantana montevidensis (sellowiana) Lantana
R Lavandula spp. Lavender
R, F Limonium perezii Statice
. Linaria maroccana Toad-flax
R Nerine masonorum Nerine
R Oenothera berlandieri Mexidan Evening Primore
. Pelangonium peltatum Ivy Geranium
R Penstemon spp. Penstemon
. Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian Sage
. Romneya coulteri Matilija Poppy
. Salvia spp. Sage
R Santolina spp. Lavender Cotton
. Senecio spp. Dusty Miller
. Silene maritima No common name
. Sisyrinchium spp. Eyed Grass
. Stachys byzantina Lamb's Ears
R Trichostema lanatum Woolly Blue Curls
R Tulbaghia violacea Society Garlic
. Yucca spp. Yucca
. Zantedeschia aethiopica Calla Lily
Drought-tolerant Vines
R Jasminum spp. Jasmine
. Rosa banksiae Lady Bank's Rose
R Solanum jasminoides Potato Vine
R Tecomaria capensis Cape Honeysuckle
R Trachelospermum jasminoides Star Jasmine
. Witeria spp. Wisteria


Highly Flammable Plants:

Use these plants with extreme caution. They can be a hazard near buildings or wooden structures, and will need a higher level of maintenance. Keep any existing plants on this list clear of each other, free of any dry debris, and trimmed clear of any structures.

Those denoted with P are considered Pyrophtyes - they almost attract fire.
Pyrophtyes Genus Species Common Name
describe Highly Flammable Trees describe
. Abies spp. Fir
. Acacia spp. Acacia
. Cedrus spp. Cedar
. Chamaecyparis spp. except dwarf Cypress, Cedar
. Cryptomaria japonica except dwarf Cryptomeria
. Cupressus spp. Cypress
. Cupressocyparis Cypress
P Eucalyptus cladocalyx Sugar Gum
P Eucalyptus globulus BlueGum
P Eucalyptus viminalis Manna Gum
. Larix spp. Larch
. Palms (if fronds left untrimmed) Palm
. Oucea soo, Spruce
P Pinus spp. (including dwarf mugo) Pine
. Schinus spp. Pepper Tree
. Tamarix spp. Tamarisk
. Taxodium spp. Bald Cypress
. Taxus spp. except dwarf Yew
. Thuja spp. Arbor-Vitae
. Tsuga spp. Hemlock
describe Highly Flammable Shrubs describe
P Adenostoma fasciculatum Chamis, Greasewood
P Adenostoma sparisfolium Red Shanks
. Artemesia californica California Sagebrush
P Baccharis pilularis consanguinea Coyote Brush
. Cytisus, Genista, Spartium Brooms
. Dodonaea viscosa Hopseed Bush
. Erigonum spp. Buckwheat
P Juniperus spp. Juniper
describe Highly Flammable Groundcovers describe
P Baccharis spp. (when overgrown) Coyote Bush
. Hedera canariensis Algerian Ivy
P Juniperus spp. Juniper
describe Highly Flammable Perennials describe
. Bamboo spp. Bamboo
. Cortaderia selloana Pampas grass
. Miscanthus spp. Grasses
. Muehlenbergia spp. Deer Grasses
. Pennisetum setaceum Fountain Grasses
. Salvia melilifera Black Sage

These lists are in no way a "complete" list and do not intend to represent itself as such. The plants contained on this list are a compilation from many sources from around the state.


For more information about landscaping and selecting drought-tolerant, fire resistant plants contact your local nursery.

Also, read EBMUD's FIRESCAPE booklet about landscaping and structures designed for fire safety.