Creosote

Larrea tridentata

Whenever it rains in the desert, Creosote Bush lends a distinctive fragrance to the air. Tiny resinous olive green leaves are the source of real creosote, as the common name would suggest. Twisted gray stems rising from a central base are sparsely foliated, giving the plant an open, airy appearance. Under favorable soil and moisture conditions, Creosote Bush can reach 10 feet in height and width. A more typical size is 6 feet high and 8 feet wide. Throughout the year, but heaviest in spring, ½-inch yellow flowers sprinkle the foliage. Pea-sized fruits with a dense covering of silver hairs follow the flowers.

Water Use It Wisely

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Status: Native
Origin: Lower desert regions of southwestern North America
Family: Zygophyllaceae
Size: 6′ high x 8′ wide
Sun: Full
Watering: Supplemental
Growth Rate: Slow
Soil: Tolerant of desert soils but prefers good drainage
Temperature: Cold hardy to 0 degrees F
Pruning: Lightly head back
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Host for Geometrid moths (family Geometridae), Bagworm moths (family Psychidae). Creosote bush is crucial to the survival of many native bee species as a nectar plant. Many insects are specific to this species, such as the creosote katydid (Insara covillei), the creosote bush walking stick (Diapheromera covilleae), and the creosote grasshopper (Bootettix argentatus), which are so camouflaged that they are very difficult to find. Lac insects (Tachardiella larreae, a scale insect) can occasionally be found on its stems. Creosote galls are produced by the creosote gall midge (Asphondylia); larvae of these small flies live in the protective mass of tissue.
Notes: 5 gallon plants are easier to start than 1 gallon size. Irrigated plants are more lush and grow faster but can become gangly

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