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Creosote Bush - Resourceful Survivor

Found less often in this high desert region than in the lower Colorado Desert, the creosote bush (larrea tridentata), is one of the best adapted desert plants. Its small waxy leaves drop off in times of severe drought, but will regrow after a rainfall. It stays green most of the year, blooming with tiny yellow flowers in the spring or after periods of rain, followed by a profusion of fuzzy, white seed-balls.

Creosote roots can go down as far as 60 feet to find water. In the lower desert creosote bushes grow widely spaced for maximum moisture gathering without competition. To protect their territory, the roots secrete chemicals into the ground preventing germination of other plants nearby. The availability of water also dictates the number of plants successfully surviving in a given area. Note that creosotes growing in the high desert have closer neighbors, an indication of more moisture.

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Creosote bush
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