Creosote Bush

(Larrea tridentata)

A close-up of the leaves of a Creosote bush.

The one species of shrub that was here before Sunnylands was developed and left undisturbed in the wildflower field is Creosote. These are the largest shrubs that you can see in the field with small resinous wax-coated leaves. They have a wet scent reminiscent of rain on the desert.

Native to Mexico, as the climate became warmer and drier, the Creosote moved north, arriving in our area less than 20,000 years ago, which is relatively recent. Since arriving, it has filled a niche with more than 20 species of bees as its major pollinators. It is also food for the Chuckwalla, Desert Iguana, and Black-tailed Jackrabbit, though the jackrabbit will only select Creosote if other more palatable options are not available. The leaves are quite bitter.

There are significant ethnobotanical connections to this plant, and some medicinal uses are being researched today.

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