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Larrea tridentata is a shrub that is native to California, and also found elsewhere in western North America.
[Wikipedia] Description & Distribution: Larrea tridentata, called creosote bush and greasewood as a plant, chaparral as a medicinal herb, and gobernadora (Spanish for "governess") in Mexico, due to its ability to secure more water by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. In Sonora, it is more commonly called hediondilla; Spanish hediondo = "smelly".
It is a flowering plant in the family Zygophyllaceae. The specific name tridentata refers to its three-toothed leaves.
L. tridentata in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Larrea tridentata is a prominent species in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of western North America, and its range includes those and other regions in portions of southeastern California, Arizona, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States, and Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Zacatecas, Durango and San Luis Potosì in Mexico. The species grows as far east as Zapata County, Texas, along the Rio Grande southeast of Laredo near the 99th meridian west.
Stages of creosote flower development, from bud (left) to seeds (right)
Larrea tridentata is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) tall, rarely 4 m (13 ft). The light gray stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 mm (1?4 to 11?16 in) long and 4 to 8.5 mm (5?32 to 11?32 in) broad. The flowers are up to 25 mm (1 in) in diameter, with five yellow petals. Galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the common name derives. In the regions where it grows, its smell is often associated with the "smell of rain". (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)
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Information on California plants for education, research and conservation,
with data contributed by
public and private institutions and individuals.
[web application]. 2023. Berkeley, California:The Calflora Database
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