Larrea tridentata 

Creosote Bush - Larrea tridentata
East of Hillsboro, NM
Mary 15, 2014

Certainly not rare, but quite beautiful, the Creosote Bushes, Larrea tridentata, were in bloom in May 2014.  Also known as Greasewood, Hediondilla, Governadora, and Guamis.  Scientific synonyms for this species include Zygophyllum tridentatum, Larrea divaricata var. arenaria, Covillea tridentata, Neoschroeterea tridentata, Schroeterella tridentata, Larrea glutinosa... 

A bush of this species, known as King Clone, is believed by some to be about 11,700 years old - making it one of the oldest living organisms on Earth.  That estimate is based on present growth rates, however, and is subject to error.  That date has not been substantiated by other methods.

Preparations from this species are used as antiseptics and emetics.

The range of this species, in the United States, is shown on the BONAP map to the right.  The light green color indicates that Larrea tridentata is native to, and common within, the county indicated.  To the south it is found as far as central Mexico.  It is the dominant shrub at lower elevations of the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojave Deserts.

Edgar Mearns collected the specimen shown below on March 24, 1894 along the Colorado River at Colonia Diaz, Sonora.



© Robert Barnes 2018