What is a creosote?

Creosote Bush Care – Tips For Growing Creosote Plants

Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) has an unromantic name but possesses wonderful medicinal properties and fascinating adaptive abilities. This bush is unusually well suited to arid desert periods and is predominant in parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and other North American desert areas. It is not common to grow creosote in the garden in most areas, but it can be an important and interesting part of a native landscape in desert garden regions. Here is a little creosote bush information so you can decide if this amazing plant is right for your yard.

Creosote Bush Information

Another name for this plant is greasewood. The unappealing name is referring to the large bush’s sticky resin-coated leaves that carry a strong smell that releases in warm desert rains, permeating the entire area with the characteristic scent.

Creosote bush can live for 100 years and produces flowers most of the year followed by strange fuzzy silver fruits. The plant may get up to 13 feet tall and is comprised of slim, brown twiggy branches covered with alternate glossy yellowish-green leaves. The primary method for growing creosote plants is from rhizomes and seeds.

Creosote in the Garden

Creosote bush is not commonly available at garden centers and nurseries, but you can grow it from seed. The plant produces fuzzy capsules containing the seed. The method for growing creosote plants requires soaking seeds in boiling water to break through the heavy seed coat. Soak them for a day and then plant one seed per 2-inch pot.

Keep the seeds lightly moist until germination. Then move them to a warm, sunny location and grow them on until there is a full set of roots. Place the pots outside to acclimate for a few days and plant the seedlings in an amended bed with plenty of sand or gritty material worked into it. Water them until the bushes are established.

Use creosote bushes as part of a xeriscape landscape, border plant, rockery plant or just as part of a habitat restoration.

Creosote Bush Care

Creosote bush care couldn’t be simpler if your garden has well drained soil and blazing hot sun.

Provide these native plants with a sunny, warm location. The bushes have no common disease or pest issues with the exception of creosote gall.

Creosote bushes are desert plants and require similar conditions. While you might be tempted to water the plant, it will grow tall and gangly, so resist the urge! Neglectful gardening is the key to a healthy, compact bush. It will reward you with fragrant yellow flowers in spring.

Pruning a Creosote Bush

The jointed stems give the plant a skeletal appearance and the branches are brittle and prone to breaking. This means pruning a creosote bush is important to its health and structure. Remove dead wood at any time of the year and give it a thinning when necessary.

You can also cut it back to almost ground level if the plant is old and rangy. This will force thick compact growth the following spring. Occasionally, gardeners will try to shape the plant. Fortunately, creosote bush is very tolerant of hack pruning.

This is a marvelous native desert plant that translates to dry home landscapes with sunny, hot days and cool nights.

If you are familiar with the Chihuahuan Desert, you will recognize the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) as ubiquitous. It is common throughout Western North America, and it’s becoming even more common. Creosote bush has a unique set of evolutionary adaptations that allows it to outcompete many other plants in its ecosystems, given the right opportunities.

They only “breathe” in the mornings

Rain is rare in the desert, and any plant has to be able to get as much of it as it can while losing as little of it as possible. The problem all plants face is that they must “breathe” in carbon dioxide through openings on the underside of their leaves called stomata, but doing so means they lose water. This becomes a big problem when it is especially hot and dry as it always is during the day in the desert. So the creosote bush only opens its stomata in the mornings when the humidity is relatively high and the loss of water is the lowest. It is during this time that creosote bush undergoes photosynthesis, and shuts it down when the sun rises higher. This is also why …

Creosote bush always faces southeast

Since the plant photosynthesizes only in the mornings when humidity is highest, it needs to maximize the amount of sunlight it receives during that time. Its branches and leaves grow in a shape meant to capture as much morning sunlight as possible. As the sun gets higher and the air drier, it will close its stomata and shut down its photosynthesis. While this may seem like not using the sunlight is wasted potential, it is in fact a smart move since it saves water. And in the desert it is always water, not sunlight that limits plant growth.

Creosote bush will grow in different shapes depending on what it needs

A cone shape allows creosote bush to channel rain down its stems so that the water goes deeper into the soil and the roots have more time to absorb it. It can also grow into a hemisphere, an upside down bowl shape that allows leaf litter and other organic material to collect beneath its branches. This creates an island of fertility that allows other plants and animals to live underneath, creating a rich soil that is full of nutrients for the creosote bush.

Creosote cultivates a microbial community on its branches

On many creosote bushes you will see black areas on some branches. This is a microbial community of algae, fungi, and bacteria that in exchange for a place to live, gives the plant nutrients as rainwater flows over it and into the soil. It is from a combination of this and dust that has settled on its branches between storms that allows creosote bush to pick up 9 times as much phosphorus and 16 times as much nitrogen than is in regular rainwater. These nutrients are rare in the desert and give the plant a huge leg up over its competition.

People once used a compound derived from creosote to preserve food

Nordihydroguaiaretic acid is a powerful antioxidant that the creosote bush produces for protection. When it was discovered in the 1930s, people would extract it from the plant and use it to keep food from spoiling. This practice ended in the 70s when the FDA discontinued its use in food, but recent research on the chemical has found some promise in its ability to reduce cancerous tumors in animals.

Its unique smell is the result of many compounds

The smell of creosote after a good rain is the result of many volatile oils, but mostly terpene (a compound found in pines), limonene (citrus), camphor (pines and rosemary), methanol (wood alcohol), and 2-undecanone (spices).

Fire keeps creosote bush in check

The creosote bush thrives in the desert. It is so good at making efficient use of its limited resources that it will slowly overtake ecosystems like grasslands and turn them into creosote shrubland. Creosote has one weakness though, fire. Creosote bush grows slowly, and if grassland that it grows in catches fire when it is still small, it will die off while the grass grows back. Because of this, creosote bush’s natural habitat is in areas where grass has a difficult time growing. But practices like fire suppression, or overgrazing that limits how much fuel there is for fire, allows the creosote bush to take over.

Any plant you see growing is there because it is the successful result of millions of years of evolution. It has encountered and adapted to more environmental challenges than you could ever imagine. The plants of the Chihuahuan Desert where The Jornada Experimental Range is located, and where we do our research, are incredibly good at surviving a harsh desert environment. If you want to know more about how plants thrive in the desert, check out “5 things you didn’t know about Ocotillo”. Also check out some of our YouTube videos on “grasses and wildflowers of the Chihuahuan Desert.”

A special thanks to Walt Whitford for lending his expertise to this blog.

USDA-ARS the Jornada Experimental Range

Photo Credits:

Long Draw Fire Aftermath By Jeff Clark, Oregon BLM Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Creosote Flowers “Resinous” By Anne Reeves Creative Commons CC BY-ND 2.0

Chemical Structure of Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid By Edgar181

All other photos by Johnny Ramirez

Cited Publications:

Whitford, Walt (2014) The Remarkable Creosote. Unpublished Book Chapter.

Creosote Bush

One doesn’t have to look far to see a wonder of the plant world in Joshua Tree National Park. Known scientifically as Larrea tridentata, and in common parlance as the creosote bush, it produces small, pretty yellow flowers in spring and summer. But it is the pleasantly pungent smell, which the leaves produce as soon as a summer rain starts, that is most noticeable.

The creosote bush is the signature plant of the southern part of the park and a common, characteristic, and often dominant shrub of the deserts of southwestern North America. Its closest relative lives in the arid regions of Argentina.

Actually, what botanists classify as a single species in the North American deserts is now known to consist of three genetically different shrubs. Creosote bushes of the Mojave Desert have 78 chromosomes, those of the Sonoran Desert (southern Arizona) have 52 chromosomes, while those of west Texas (Chihuahuan Desert) have only 26. Such an increase in the number of chromosomes in plant evolution is not that unusual. Seedless watermelons, for example, were the result of doubling the number of chromosomes of regular watermelons, the lack of seeds being a side effect. In the case of the Mojave creosote, the increase in chromosome number may have been accompanied by an increasing ability to survive on the less summer rainfall in the Mojave.

The genetic and fossil evidence indicate that the Mojave creosote is a relative newcomer to our part of California. Eleven to 12,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age, this area would have been dominated by juniper woodland and lots of grass. As the climate became warmer and drier the junipers retreated to the nearby mountains, and a new plant, evolved from the Sonoran Desert form, appeared on the scene: our creosote bush. The newcomer was so successful in the competition for scarce water that it soon became the largest and most conspicuous plant of our desert landscape.

Although creosote bushes produce large numbers of fuzzy seeds at each flowering, few of them are able to germinate. It takes decades for creosote bushes to return to areas that have been cleared of native shrubs. Even a one-foot high plant is probably at least ten years old. As the shrub grows, branches continue to originate around the periphery of the original stem crown. The branches grow upward for about six feet giving the whole shrub the rounded shape of an upside down cone.

As growth continues, the oldest branches gradually die and the stem crown splits into separate crowns. This happens at an age of 30 to 90 years. Eventually, the original stem and early branches die and rot away; the connections between adjoining segments of the stem crown thus disappear. The plant has now become a clone, composed of several independent stem crowns all descended from one seedling. The process continues until the clone spreads across the ground in a circular or elliptical shape. As you travel in the park, see if you can find one or more of these circular creosote clones. Usually, a mound of sand accumulates in the central area.

In a few areas of the Mojave Desert clonal creosote rings have been found that are several yards in diameter. Near Lucerne Valley, “King Clone” has an average diameter of 45 feet! Using radiocarbon dating and known growth rates of creosote, scientists have estimated the age of “King Clone” as 11,700 years. Some of these common residents have been here continuously since the last ice age. They are certainly an integral part of our desert environment and many desert animals depend on the creosote for food and shelter.

The Indians of the Southwest appreciated the creosote bush. The leaves were an important part of their pharmacopoeia. The Apaches prescribed chewing and swallowing a small piece of creosote branch to cure diarrhea. Other tribes made a strong tea from the dried leaves to treat the common cold. The resinous leaf nodes were used to soothe bruises and wounds. And a tea made from the leaves and sweetened with a little honey was said to greatly relieve kidney pain.

Modern herbalists also have found uses for the ancient creosote. An extract is now marketed as a cure for herpes. Another extract is being investigated as an anti-cancer drug. However, large doses of creosote have been shown to cause liver damage.

by Harold DeLisle, Phd.

Larrea tridentata

Creosote Bush, Larrea tridentata, is an evergreen shrub of the deserts. Creosote Bush slowly grows to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. A very drought tolerant desert plant that adapts to pruning, and water to become an excellent patio shrub or hedge. Creosote Bush has a delightful fragrance that fills the air with a clean pine scent after a summer rain. A group of these plants are now believed to be the oldest living things, 11,700 years old (Vasek, Fremontia 7, 3-10). Creosote Bush has done well here with no water after the first watering. Not superfast it has grown here a foot a year and considering we haven’t lifted a finger towards it in 30 years it looks great. Creosote inhibits competition by forming water-repellent soils (see Cercidium floridum). Many people believe the leaf to have curing properties, BUT it can cause hepatotoxicity(hepatitis) after two weeks of use.(Grant, et. al. 1998)
Creosote Bush commonly grows in loose soils, sometimes in the washes, sometimes on the slopes, even where the soil appears to be clay it is not compacted but loose or with a lot of rocks so the roots can be aerated.
If you live in a higher rainfall area make sure you plant your plant in loose soil on a slope.Our 30 year old plant looks great in dry years, hangs on in wet winters.
There is a South American form (Larrea divaricata) of Creosote Bush the scientific name seems to get changed back a forth by every botanist that packs a crayon.(Larrea divaricatum subs. tridentata, Zygophyllum tridentatum, Covillea tridentata, Schroeterella tridentata, Neoschroetera tridentata, and Larrea glutinosa ) In South America the Creosote lives in an area much like it does in the United States and Mexico. Barren except in spring when the desert comes alive with perennial and annual wildflowers. The South American form is even associated with similar shrubs and trees, notably Atriplex, Prosopis, Acacia, Cassia and Cercidium.

Chaparral (Larrea tridentata), packet of 50 seeds

(Creosote Bush)
Family: Caltrop (Zygophyllaceae)
Hardy to 5 degrees F, colder if kept dry. The plant dislikes cold, wet conditions.
Evergreen perennial bush native to the SW US and Mexico. This is one of the longest lived plants on Earth. A living plant has been carbon dated to 13,000 years before the present. The antimicrobial, anticancer and free radical scavenging activities of the potent anti-oxidant NDGA and other molecules found in this plant are well-known. However, this is very potent medicine and in my opinion is best to use as a low-dose botanical, and best used externally. Repeated internal overdose can be toxic to the liver and/or kidneys. Plant prefers full sun, well-drained, alkaline and sandy soil. Sow seed in spring or summer, in pots containing Cactus mix. Cover seed with 1/8 inch of sand and keep warm, in the light and barely moist until germination, which occurs in 3 to 5 weeks. The seed itself is covered by a fuzzy pericarp, which does not need to be removed. Upon germination, the pericarp often balances on top of the seedling like a little fuzz helmet. After the seedlings reach an inch or two, individuate to gallon pots and grow out that way for at least a year before transplanting. The plant may be kept in pots as a bonsai in places outside its native range. Inside its native range it is OK to transplant outdoors. Space plants at least 3 feet apart.
50 seeds/pkt., Open Pollinated

Every Tucson Home Needs A Creosote Bush

Tucson has a particular smell, and that smell is caused by the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). When the monsoon comes and the rains gush from the sky, the aroma that has ensnared every red-blooded Tucsonan (and many visitors) wafts along with the winds–phenolic compounds from creosote bush which have been carried by wind and moisture.

As Tucson changes, and developers convert beautiful desert into monoculture housing developments and strip malls populated by Starbucks and Mattress Firm, we lose more and more of what makes this place so special.

We want every yard in Tucson to have at LEAST one creosote bush.

Creosote bush is easy to grow. Once established it requires very little water (though some water will make plants look lusher and grow faster). Plants do best in full sun, and in hot locations where few other plants thrive. Give them lots of room to grow as they generally grow about 4-5 feet tall, though they have been known to get up to about 12 feet tall in special conditions. Surprisingly they take well to pruning, so you can keep them at bay if they seem to wanna sprawl out more than space allows.

We usually offer one-gallons and five-gallon plants. The one-gallons take a little more observation and care to get started, and the five-gallons are more work initially but are easier to establish. The key is not to overwater them when you get them started but making sure they don’t get too dry when getting started. In the cool season you may only need to water a five’-gallon plant initially and wait a few weeks to a month. In the warm season, you will need to watch the root-ball carefully, and when it is dry, water it. That can be about every 3 days or so, depending on the weather. Once the plants are established, they are actually much less finicky. They can even grow with normal landscape watering—they will grow much faster and larger in those settings and may need to be pruned.

This plant is fascinating on many levels. In the wild, it grows where nothing else will, on hot dry, caliche ridden, barren soils. It is probably the most drought tolerant plant in North America. They photosynthesize only in the morning — which is why, if you start paying attention, you may notice that the foliage tends to face southeast, to take advantage of the morning sun. Resins on the leaves slow transpiration and plants can temporarily shed leaves and stems in extreme conditions. Creosote bush can also keep photosynthesizing when leaves are fairly decimated, keeping it alive in rough times.

The stems emerge from the base, and new stems form on the outside, which over a number of years begins to form a ring of clones. There is a famous colony, called the King Clone, in the Mojave Desert that is roughly estimated to be around 11,000 years old, one of the oldest-known organisms in the world.

Creosote bush uses: medicinal and otherwise

Creosote Bush Medicinal Uses

Historically, creosote bush has served many medicinal purposes. Indigenous people rely on creosote as a ‘cure-all’ plant with wide reaching applications. Ethnobotanical notes mention creosote was used as a cure of fever, colds, stomach pains, a general pain killer, diuretic, arthritis, sinusitis, anemia and an anti-diarrheal.

Creosote bush is also antimicrobial. Thereby the plant is useful for cuts and bacterial or fungal infections.

Tea was made from the plant. The waxy leaves and small branches were gathered, dried and stored in the sun. When dried, the material was pulverized and steeped into tea.

Parts of the Creosote plant were also smoked for various reasons. In northern Mexico, the Seri smoked insect galls that grew as infectious growths from creosote branches. These galls were caused by an infestation of a desert midge. Apparently, inhaling this smoke offered the Seri great pleasure.

The Pima of North America also inhaled smoke from burning creosote as a remedy for laziness. Another North America tribe, the Papago held their feet above smoldering creosote branches to ease the pain from sore feet.

After learning of the medicinal use of creosote from Native Americans, scientists began to explore the medicinal nature of this plant.

One of the many bio-active plant compounds isolated from this plant is called, NDGA – or nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of this compound to inhibit cancerous growth. However, other studies have shown detrimental effects, such as toxicity. Hopefully, future studies will further elucidate the benefits of this plant. It is possible, that dosage is the difference between benefit and detriment.

Parts of the plant used:

The leaves and twigs.

How is it used?

In Mexican traditional medicine, the leaves and twigs are stepped in boiling water for just a few seconds to make a tea. The tea made from this plant has a very strong, bitter taste, which usually limits its consumption. The tea is usually taken only for short periods of time, rarely more than 2 weeks. Fairly recently, however, marketing schemes recommend the use of tablets and capsules made from creosote bush leaves for internal use. The capsules and tablets have not been the usual form of consuming creosote bush for medicinal purposes, and convey a much more concentrated form of the plant and its active chemicals in comparison to the tea. For this reason, pills and capsules made from this plant are potentially more dangerous to use. Because of this, the FDA banned the sale of these products in the United States.

What is it used for?

Internally as tea for gall bladder stones, kidney stones, venereal (sexually transmitted) diseases and some types of cancer. Factual data as to its efficacy against most of these ailments is lacking. Externally, it is employed as a wash for athlete’s foot, ringworm and other fungal skin infections, venereal disease and as a foot deodorant.

Health Benefits of Creosote bush

Creosote bush Quick Facts
Name: Creosote bush
Scientific Name: Larrea tridentata
Origin Larrea tridentata develops in the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan Deserts.
Colors Reddish to white (Fruit)
Shapes Small, globose (Fruit)
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Lowers cholesterol, Treats cancer, Multiple treatment, HIV treatment
More facts about Creosote bush

Larrea tridentate (commonly known as Black bush, Creosote bush, Chaparral, Creosote bush, Dwarf Evergreen Oak, Creosotum, Gobernadora, Greasewood, Grease bush, Guamis, Jarilla, Hediondilla, Paloondo, Kreosotestrauch, creosote, hediondilla, Kreosotstrauch, kreosotbuske, gobernadora) is a plant indigenous to the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan Deserts. It typically lives up to hundred years.

It is a drought tolerant and evergreen shrub which grows up to 2-4 m in height and 1.8 m wide. Barks are smooth and gray initially which turns to darker. Stems are numerous and flexible. Leaves are alternately arranged, thick, resinous, waxy, yellow to green and 12-25 mm long. The leaflets are 7-18 mm (0.28- 0.71 inch) long and 4-8.5 mm (0.16- 0.33 inch) broad. The flowers have five yellow petals, solitary, axillary, 2 cm wide, hermaphrodite and 25 mm (0.98 inch) in diameter. Fruits are small, globose whose color ranges from reddish to white. The fruit is bitter in taste.

History

Larrea tridentata develops in the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan Deserts. It is distributed from Southern California Northeast, Southern Nevada, Southwest corner of Utah, Southern Arizona, New Mexico, Western Texas and North central Mexico. Creosote bush grows on well drained slopes, valley floors, plains and sand dunes.

Creosote-bush-close-up-flowers Creosote-bush-dried-leaves Creosote-bush-flower-buds
Creosote-bush-foliage-and-flowers Creosote-bush-leaves Creosote-bush-seedlings
Creosote-bush-seeds Creosote-bush-stem Creosote-bush

Creosote bush is considered to be very powerful herb. The leaves of this plant help to cure the diseases. It is highly respected for its healing properties but also possess some serious side effects. The leaves tincture is applied as lotions. It possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, expectorant and antidiarrheal properties. It also acts as a natural expectorant which helps to soothe excess mucus. The infusion made from this plant helps to get rid from dandruff. Traditionally it is used as a cure for stomach pains, fever, colds, arthritis, anemia, sinusitis, pain killer and anti-diarrheal. It helps to treat the bacterial and fungal infections.

  1. Lowers cholesterol

The ethanolic extract of Creosote bush shows that it helps to reduce total cholesterol, TGs, leptin, insulin and enhance the sensitivity of insulin. It is related with low peroxidation of lipid and enhance the antioxidant capacity in liver. When HFD diet is shifted to Std diet, it helps to improve liver lipids, insulin sensitivity, serum leptin cholesterol and plasma glucose. This shows that ethanolic extract of Creosote bush helps to treat MS. (1)

  1. Treats cancer

The research shows that this plant helps to effectively treat cancer and viral diseases. In North and South America, creosote bush is used as a folk medicine. Creosote bush is able to permeate the nucleus and virus envelope in order to hinder viral gene machinery. The study evaluated that lignans of creosote bush helps to treat and prevent the diseases which are new and complex. (2)

  1. Multiple treatment

The study of Creosote bush shows that it acts as a multiple treatment for neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. In vivo and vitro experimental studies, various medicinal properties are found. NDGA is regarded as a powerful antioxidant which helps to inhibit the production of ROS, enhance immune function, promote NO production, prevent cardiovascular ailments and promote the function of nervous system. Its toxicity and safety should still be determined. (3)

  1. HIV treatment

The study finds out the NDGA is a natural antioxidant which helps to lower the endothelium and vasocontractility persuaded by HIV protease inhibitor RTV in the porcine pulmonary arteries. It shows that NDGA blocked RTV induced reduce of eNOS expression in HPAECs and porcine pulmonary arteries. Moreover, NDGA restricts RTV prevent superoxide anion production in HPAECs and pulmonary arteries. The study shows that NDGA is beneficial in the patients of HIV. (4)

Traditional uses

Mexico:

  • The decoction made from the dried branches and bark is used to treat diabetes.
  • The decoction made from dried root is used orally for abortive and diabetes.
  • The plant infusion is used orally to cure infectious diseases.
  • The dried leaf decoction helps to treat diabetes.
  • An extract of hot water and dried leaf is used as a blood purifier, treats urinary tract infections, kidney problems and frigidity.
  • It is also used as an aid for gallstones, wounds, rheumatism, diabetes, arthritis, paralysis, tumors and skin injuries.

United States:

  • The hot water extract of dried leaf is used as a tonic and expectorant to treat tuberculosis.
  • It is used as diuretic, treat bowel cramps and veneral disease by Indians.
  • The external use of hot water extract of dried leaf helps to heal wounds.
  • The hot water extract made from dried plant is helpful for cancer.
  • The decoction made from leaves helps to cure diarrhea and stomach ailments.
  • Young twigs are used as a cure for toothache.
  • The poultice made from leaves helps to treat chest complaints and also used as a wash for skin ailments.
  • It is as a treatment for venereal infections, rheumatic disease, cancer and urinary infections.
  • It is also used to treat liver ailments.
  • A tea made from branches is effective for bowel cramps, inflammation, diarrhea, indigestion, ulcer and stomach pain.
  • The tea made from Creosote helps to treat the respiratory ailments such as cough, cold, influenza, bronchitis and tuberculosis.
  • It is also useful for anemia.
  • Native Americans of Southwest believed that it helps to treat tuberculosis, maladies, chicken pox, sexually transmitted diseases, snakebite and dysmenorrhea.
  • Coahuilla Indians use this plant for tuberculosis and intestinal complaints.
  • The decoction made by leaves is drunk by Pima leaves as an emetic.
  • It is used as a poultice for sores and wounds.
  • Papago Indians used it for stiff limbs and menstrual cramps.
  • Chaparral is used as a deodorant for the feet as well as armpits.
  • Leaves and twigs are used as tea or pounded into powder, heated into an infusion or pressed into a poultice.
  • Creosote bush is used to encounter venereal disease and urinary infections.
  • The use of Creosote bush result in fatigue, contact dermatitis, stomach upset, jaundice, liver damage, cirrhosis of liver, acute hepatitis and kidney failure.
  • One should consult a health professional before treating any health ailments.
  • It could lead to renal toxicity and hepatic.
  • The small children, pregnant and lactation women should not use creosote bush.
  • The people with hepatitis or liver cirrhosis should not use it.
  • The external use may cause allergy in sensitive individuals.
  • Use of Creosote bush on skin can cause itching and rash.

How to Eat

  • Flower buds are pickled in vinegar and also used as a substitute for caper substitute.
  • The leaves and stems are a substitute for tea.
  • The chewing of twigs helps to relieve thirst.

Other Facts

  • Creosote bush does not grow above 5,000 ft. in altitude.
  • King Clone is one of the oldest living plants in Mojave Desert which is evaluated 10,000 years old.

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