Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Texas Creosote Bush

My thanks to Dan Acosta for the following very interesting email and permission to share:

Hi Tristan,

I was in the Chihuahuan desert at Big Bend National Park in Texas and was excited to spot the Creosote bush. It has 3 interesting characteristics.

As the bottom photo illustrates, the individual plants grow apart from each other due to the fact it has incredibly deep roots for the scarce water so any nearby plants cannot compete for the the remaining water. Secondly, it acts as a nurse plant for 7 species of young cacti as you see in the top photo with the cacti growing at its base( the Creosote shields the young cactus from excess sun and has a richer soil of nutrients at its base).

And lastly all the leaves of the Creosote bush point South-east! As you know, this happens because it wants to use the early morning sun for photosynthesis which allows it to conserve water the rest of the day!

Dan Acosta


My thanks to Richard Grant, an author, journalist and television host for this email:

On the creosote bush, which also grows here in the Sonoran Desert, there are other interesting facts:

When it rains it emits a gorgeous musky spicy scent. Its small bright yellow flowers provide early nectar for 22 native bee species here in the Tucson valley.

It is the toughest of all desert plants, growing in the hottest driest areas where no other plants can make it, not even cactus.

It can reproduce through seeds and by cloning itself.

The oldest known creosote is King Clone in the Mohave Desert, thought to be 12,500 years old.

I’m proud to have a few of them on my property. Not all of their leaves face southeast, but the vast majority do.