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Fire resistant Cypress trees

  • Fire resistant Cypress trees

One of my favourite trees is the Cypress which give a distinctive character to so many landscapes around the Mediterranean.

But I was surprised to learn on holiday last week that Cypress trees are also remarkably fire resistant. Apparently a huge forest fire in Valencia in 2012 left a stand of 946 Cypress trees almost completely unscathed when all around it - over 20,000 hectares - was raised to the ground.

The reason apparently is that the trees have particularly compact, moisture-holding leaves. They also, like Eucalyptus, acidify the soil making it more difficult for other bushes or undergrowth to grow beneath them which could fuel a fire.

Of the 946 trees, only 12 were burnt, and the remainder suffered just 10% dehydration and quickly regenerated.

There is now a great deal of interest in using Cypress as fire-breaks in areas where forest fires are a threat. I'd be interested to hear of other plants or trees that have such beneficial effects.

Comments (2)

  1. Grower

    Jim Edwards

    Hallo it's me again, our son lives in California where they are suffering the loss of pines through canker. Therefore we forwarded a copy of your post as they are in a fire risk area and looking to replace the pines with a suitable alternative.
    The state of California publish a guide to fire resistant plants which you may find interesting Go to: www.bewaterwise.com/fire02.html

  2. Grower

    Amanda CW

    How interesting. I had no idea there were other plants classed as 'fire resistant'. Who would have thought species of Ceonothus, Lavander and Sage would be in the list.


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