Species Spotlight - Creosote Bush

Common Name
Kingdom
Division
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species
Creosote Bush
Plantae
Anthrophyta
Dicotyledones
?
Zygophyllaceae
Larrea
tridentata
Creosote bush
Natural History The creosote bush is a ubiquitous, diagnostic plant of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. This plant moved north into North American when North and South America were joined by the isthmus of Panama. Desert adaptations include small, resinous leaves. A living creosote plant has been found with an estimated age of 11,000 years!
Why this species? When we had a branch of this plant in the classroom, Carlos said it smells like rain. Pungent chemicals in the leaves of creosote bush are released in the higher humidity that accompanies rain. For people living in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, the smell we might think comes from rain is really the creosote bush welcoming a drink.