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One of the more common plants of the North American desert, Creosote Bush is found in the deserts of southern California and Arizona and northern Mexico, such as the Sonoran Desert. This plant is extremely hardy, and has a pungent odor. Although it tends to grow near washes and other watercourses it can survive almost anywhere. The plant gives a special character to the desert in that after a rare rain it emits an amazing, distinctive smell from its leaves, one which can never be forgotten once you experience it.

Creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata) grow in concentric rings by a process in which the main stem of a bush splits apart and new shoots grow from the outer edge of each section of stem, forming new bushes. The successive generations are genetically identical, so many consider the ring to be the same plant as that first sprouted from a seed (at the center). The oldest known ring is over 11,500 years old and some 50 feet in diameter, located in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. The age was determined by carbon dating, and makes it the oldest living thing known to man.

Cre"o*sote bush.

A shrub (Covillea mexicana) found in desert regions from Colorado to California and southward through Mexico. It has yellow flowers and very resinous foliage with a strong odor of creosote.


© Webster 1913

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