Frequently Asked Questions

11. I live in a bushfire prone area.... are there any Australian native plants that are fire-retardant?

All native and exotic plants will burn but some are more difficult to ignite than others and will, hopefully, slow down the advance of a fire. There are, however, a range of plants which present a greater risk.

There is not a lot of published data on fire retardant plants but, generally, the most fire retardant species have the following characteristics:

  • Large, broad leaves having a high moisture content (e.g. rainforest plants) or a high salt content (e.g. saltbushes)
  • Smooth non-fibrous bark
  • A fairly dense growth habit

Plants which burn vigorously include:

  • Those with a high content of volatile oil in their trunks, branches or leaves (e.g. melaleucas, bottlebrushes, tea-trees, boronias, mint bushes and eucalypts).
  • Trees with bark that hangs down in ribbons

The following references provide further information, including some recommended species to use:

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