# 82: April 2018: Native species for fire-prone areas:

As a follow up to the February article on bushfires in our locality, we looked again at information available on what to plant in fire prone areas. It is interesting to note the terms used, such as“fire prone”, “fire resistant” and “fire retardant”. All plants, whether they are exotic or Australian, will burn when subjected to sufficient heat. However, those with leaves that have high levels of moisture or salt and lower levels of volatile oils are considered to be fire resistant. Such species can be planted as a wind break which can deflect heat and act as a barrier to flying sparks and embers. Species most frequently mentioned in the various lists are Acmena smithii (Lillypilly), Corymbia maculata (spotted gum), Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry ash), Ficus species (including Port Jackson, small leafed and sandpaper figs), Pittosporum undulatum, (Native Daphne), Myoporum species, Brachychiton acerifolius (Flame tree), Brachychiton populneum (Kurrajong), Glochidion ferdinandi (Cheese tree), Rapanea howittiana (Brush Muttonwood), Rapanea variabilis (Variable Muttonwood) and Pittosporum revolutum (Rough-fruiting pittosporum). Also included in these lists are Acacia mearnsii, Alectryon subcinereus, Banksia integrifolia, Cassine australis, Casuarina cunninghamia, Casuarina glauca, Ceratopetalum apetalum, Diospyros australis, Doryphora sassafras, Guioa semiglauca, Melia azedarach, Eupomatia laurina, Podocarpus elatus, Stenocarpus salignus and Streblus brunonianus. These species are all on the Berry Landcare Tree list and Berry residents are encouraged to plant them. Understory plants such as Lomandra or Dianella retain moisture and can retard fire. Plants to avoid are also listed and these include conifers, especially Cypress species and trees with rough fibrous bark, such as Turpentines, which are all regarded as ‘fire-prone”. Further information from Berrylandcre@gmail.com. One useful reference is the Australian Native Plants Society (www.anpsa.org.au/gallery.html).