Larrea tridentata – Creosote Bush
Scientific Name: Larrea tridentata
Common Names: Creosote Bush, Creosotebush
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Shrub
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert. This shrub is extremely common and widespread in the desert and is the predominate plant in areas known as creosote flats.
Flower Color: Yellow
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Height: To 10 feet (3 m) tall, but usually less, especially in drier or colder locations
Description: The flowers are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and have 5 twisted petals. The flowers are followed by round, lobed, hairy, white seed capsules. The small, paired leaves are actually a single leaf with 2 split leaflets joined at the base. The leaves are shiny, green, thickened, and waxy-feeling. The branches are gray-brown. These tough, clone-forming shrubs are extremely long-lived, potentially living for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Allergenic – The pollen is a mild allergen.
Foul-smelling – The crushed or rain-dampened leaves have a resinous creosote odor that some may find unpleasant.
Fragrant – The leaves give off a distinctive resinous odor after rains, especially in the summertime. Many people find this scent pleasant and evocative of rain in the Sonoran Desert.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Zygophyllaceae – Creosote-bush family
Genus: Larrea Cav. – creosote bush
Species: Larrea tridentata (DC.) Coville – creosote bush
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