Creosote bush facts

Creosote bush is a unique component of hot deserts in North America. This plant endures arid conditions due to its toughness. It is a shrub which has medium to large size with ample pliable stems. It grows up to 4 feet in height but can reach up to 12 ft. in heights with ample water. It has small, yellow to green, pointed leaves which could conserve water and deplete heat. During extreme drought, the bush may give up some of waxy and resinous leaves but not all. These leaves are aromatic after a rain and used as antiseptics or emetics by indigeneous peoples. The leaves provide shelter for grasshoppers, crickets and praying mantids.

Name Creosote bush
Scientific Name Larrea tridentata
Native Larrea tridentata develops in the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan Deserts.
Common/English Name Black bush, Creosote bush, Chaparral, Creosote bush, Dwarf Evergreen Oak, Creosotum,
Greasewood, Grease bush, Guamis, Jarilla, Paloondo, Ccreosote,
Vernacular names German: Kreosotstrauch
Spanish: gobernadora
Swedish: kreosotbuske
Plant Growth Habit Drought tolerant, evergreen shrub
Plant Size Height: 2-4 m tall, Width: 1.8 m
Lifespan Hundred years
Root Shallow taproot
Bark Initially smooth and gray which turns to darker
Stem Numerous, flexible
Leaf Thick, resinous, waxy; Length: 12-25 mm; alternate, yellow to green
Leaflet Length: 7-18 mm (0.28- 0.71 inch);  Broad: 4-8.5 mm (0.16- 0.33 inch)
Flowering Season February- August
Flower Yellow, solitary, axillary, Width: 2 cm, hermaphrodite, Diameter: 25 mm (0.98 inch); five petals
Fruit shape & size Small, globose
Fruit color Reddish to white
Fruit Taste Bitter
Seed Five
Health Benefits
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Treats cancer
  • Multiple treatment
  • HIV treatment
Traditional uses
  • To treat arthritis
  • To treat bronchitis and the common cold
  • To prevent and treat cancer
  • To reduce inflammation
  • To alleviate menstrual cramps
  • To promote urination
  • To stop muscle spasms
  • It may result in fatigue, contact dermatitis, stomach upset, jaundice, liver damage, cirrhosis of liver, acute hepatitis and kidney failure.
  • Consultancy of a health professional is required before using it.
  • It also leads to renal toxicity and hepatic.
  • It is better to avoid by the small children, pregnant and lactation women.
  • The people with hepatitis or liver cirrhosis should not use it.
  • The external use might cause allergy, rash and itching.
How to Eat
  • Flower buds are used to pickle in vinegar.
  • It is a perfect substitute for caper.
  • The leaves and stems are used as a substitute for tea.
  • The chewing of twigs relieves thirst.
Other Facts
  • Creosote bush grows below 5,000 ft. in altitude.
  • King Clone is one of the oldest living plants in Mojave Desert.


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