Nov. 7, 2022

creosote bush, Larrea tridentata

My high school biology professor spent every summer in Arizona, studying the desert ecology. Creosote bush was a particular fascination of his. Close to twelve thousand years ago a creosote seed sprouted in what we now call California. About a century later the original trunk died, and lateral branches took over. Later still those branches completely separated into their own plants. Repeat that process over and over until our time, and King Clone is one of the oldest living things on Earth. All from that one seed. Creosote bushes are so efficient at taking up water that other plants can't grow near them. One of the few mammals that will eat creosote leaves is the Arabian camel. It's now believed that creosote was a food for the extinct American camel. Creosote lore goes on and on. Dr. Yang was on to something! Creosote bush, also called greasewood or chaparral, grows in AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX, and UT. Foellinger-Freimann Conservatory, Allen Co IN, 5/13/17. Bean caper family, Zygophyllaceae.