creosote bush Zygophyllaceae Larrea
tridentata (DC.) Coville
|Leaf: Opposite, simple, evergreen, compound with 2 small (1/4 to 1/2 inch long) leaflets, generally elliptical but often curved, yellow-green to green and appear varnished, fragrant particularly after a rain.
Flower: Five bright yellow twisted sepals, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches across, occur at the ends of the twigs, appearing in spring and scattered throughout the year.
Fruit: Capsule (1/4 inch), covered in long, stiff white hairs.
Twig: Slender, light gray to reddish brown, each node is ringed in a darker color and is slightly swollen.
Bark: Initially smooth and gray, eventually becomes darker and splits into shallow fissures and flat plates.
Form: A multi-stemmed shrub commonly up to 4 feet tall but may reach 15 feet, generally a round shape. Spreads by cloning itself along the edges of the plant often resulting in a circular pattern of "cloned" plants.
| Additional Range Information:
Larrea tridentata is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting creosote bush.
| External Links:
USDA Plants Database
|© Copyright 2016, Virginia Tech|
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson