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Creosote Bush

Larrea tridentata

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Shrub, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines No
Size
In relative feet, width by height
4-8' × 4-8'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season February-April
Flower Color Yellow
Minimum Temperature Range 5 °F
Leaf Description Evergreen, paired leaflets
Fruit Hairy spherical fruits
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Ethnobotany Used to treat arthritis and allergies. As a salve it is a strongly antimicrobial and a moderate sunblock.
Description Creosote is unquestionably the most common shrub of the arid southwest, and Is found all across the deserts of Arizona, either mixed with other plants or in near monocultures. Even tiny amounts of rain will foster profuse yellow blooms followed by fuzzy, ball shaped seed pods. The leaves are made up of paired leaflets and are evergreen in all but the worst drought years. And as all desert dwellers know, the foliage is extremely fragrant, particularly following rains. Despite being so common in habitat the plant is somewhat finicky in cultivation, so they are not always available in nurseries, but once planted this species is about as close to indestructible as a plant can get. Be aware that especially in mass patches creosote can prevent the growth of other species. If you want an authentic desert garden then creosote is a must have plant.