see it


Larrea tridentata     
Creosote Bush   
Zygophyllaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: open, vase-shape shrub
Seasonality: evergreen
Size: 3-10ft, excellent indicator plant (size indicates amount of water naturally present, or if stunted may indicate presence of caliche)
Leaves: distinctive bifolate wing, tiny; usually yellow-green, darker and aromatic after rainfall
Flowers: yellow, solitary, small, numerous; bloom mainly in spring, sporadically throughout the year
Fruit: pea-sized capsule, fuzzy ball, persistent
close up of flowers
flowers, foliage and fuzzy seed capsules
on Larrea tridentata
Stems/Trunks: gray
Range/Origin: southwest, elevations to 5000ft
Hardiness: to 5°




Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata
aka Larrea divaricata tridentata

distinctive odor after rainfall, characteristic southwest desert smell

not the source of commercial creosote

difficult to salvage from the wild, root ball must be kept intact, best success after fall or winter rain

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This page was first created July 20, 2001 and last modified March 26, 2005.

Web page design and photographs by Toni Moore, Master Gardener
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