Creosote Bush, Larrea tridentata,
is an evergreen shrub of the deserts. Creosote Bush slowly grows to 6
feet tall and 8 feet wide. A very drought tolerant desert plant that
adapts to pruning, and water to become an excellent patio shrub or
hedge. Creosote Bush has a delightful fragrance that fills the
air with a clean pine scent after a summer rain. A group of these
plants are now believed to be the oldest living things, 11,700 years
old (Vasek, Fremontia 7, 3-10). Creosote Bush has done well here with
no water after the first watering. Not superfast it has grown here a
foot a year and considering we haven't lifted a finger towards it in 30
years it looks great. Creosote inhibits competition by forming
water-repellent soils (see Cercidium floridum). Many people believe the
leaf to have curing properties, BUT it can cause
hepatotoxicity(hepatitis) after two weeks of use.(Grant, et. al. 1998)
Creosote Bush commonly grows in loose soils, sometimes in the washes,
sometimes on the slopes, even where the soil appears to be clay it is
not compacted but loose or with a lot of rocks so the roots can be
If you live in a higher rainfall area make sure you plant your plant in
loose soil on a slope.Our 30 year old plant looks great in dry years,
hangs on in wet winters.
There is a South American form (Larrea
divaricata) of Creosote Bush
the scientific name seems to get changed back a forth by every botanist
that packs a crayon.(Larrea
divaricatum subs. tridentata, Zygophyllum
tridentatum, Covillea tridentata, Schroeterella tridentata,
Neoschroetera tridentata, and Larrea glutinosa ) In South
America the Creosote lives in an area much like it does in the
United States and Mexico. Barren except in spring when the desert comes
alive with perennial and annual wildflowers. The South American form is
even associated with similar shrubs and trees, notably Atriplex,
Prosopis, Acacia, Cassia and Cercidium.
Larrea tridentata tolerates sand.
Foliage of Larrea tridentata has color green, is evergreen and has fragrance.
Flower of Larrea tridentata has color yellow.
Communities for Larrea tridentata:Creosote Bush Scrub.