Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park
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Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata)
Family: Zygophyllaceae

Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)
The creosote bush gives off a sweet fragrance when it rains and deters animals from eating it.

This evergreen shrub is characteristic of the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts. The inverted cone shape of the shrub enhances the capture of rainfall as water runs down the stems and enters the soil at the plant's base. Older shrubs develop a hemispherical shape and capture wind blown leaves and plant fragments that form a litter layer. As the litter decomposes, it produces a "fertile island" of nutrient-rich soil under the plant.

Individual plants can be as old as several thousand years. In fact, clones of creosote bush may be the earth's oldest living organisms. Creosote bush produces small yellow flowers and small, hair-covered fruits during the spring and late summer. Creosote bush has been used in various remedies for arthritis and stomach pain.