A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Monday, April 30, 2012

Creosote Bush

Most of the year these plants are not much to look at.  But in the spring they do have nice yellow flowers and the leaves have a brighter green to them.

Native Americans have long used this plant for it's medicinal properties.  Among the ailments they used it for are tuberculosis, chicken pox, and sexually transmitted diseases.  Just because they used it doesn't necessarily mean it was effective against TB, the Pox or STDs.  But since they used it successfully for snakebites they must have thought it would be worth a try against these terribly bad nasties given to them by the white man.
Naturally the USFDA has issued warnings discouraging it's use for any medicinal purposes.
What do Indians know anyway?


The creosote bush can withstand severe droughts and will shed all of it's leaves if it has to and still survive. Their root systems are so effective in absorbing water that this inhibits any other plants from growing near it thus producing a plant-free zone around every plant.  They are long living plants with the oldest known individual residing in the Mojave desert and is estimated to be 11,700 years old.

The bees like them.

There is no connection between this plant and the chemical preservative used for wood. I could not find as to how it came by it's name.

15 comments:

  1. Creosote bush, interesting. Has it anything to do with the black-tar product creosote (for preserving fence posts) … maybe not.

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  2. I had forgotten about this bush...I saw it when we were traveling. It does have pretty flowers...thanks for the info about it!

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  3. I'm with Carole, is there a connection between this bush and creosote that is used on railroad ties?

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  4. they're pretty. and, yeah, i wanna know the answer too! :)

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  5. you've already answered the question in your post, or did you add that after the fact? this bush has interesting leaves. very tiny, so that explains how it can withstand drought. less leaf surface, less water loss in transpiration. (see what master gardeners know?) I really like that first shot.
    just google 52 photo projects and you'll find the site. don't know why that link didn't work. once a week posting is about all I can muster these days, and I'm not making any promises about even that. give Sinbad a kiss. I'm having withdrawal symptoms - it's been awhile since you've posted a new photo. happy day to you.

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  6. A lovely plant to see John the last image with the feeding bee is my favourite.

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  7. The blossoms are quite attractive and the bees think so too.

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  8. They do add color to the desert this time of year.

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  9. John...You made my day. I kid you now, I have been struggling for 15 minutes or so staring down my blog in an attempt to find the calendar that needed to be changed.When I FINALLY discovered it in the silly photo I took of myself with a timer on the iPhone, I cracked up. It is definitely time to change the calendar :-) It is hard for me to grasp the idea of a creosote plant. We have a creosote plant not too far from the house. Geeze, that stuff stinks...plus it is a causal factor in testicular cancer. The plant is really pretty and is a real survivor. It was so interesting to read about it. Cannot wait to test my principal tomorrow and see if he knows about it. Your first photo is so darn pretty. I like everything about it. genie

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  10. Amazing what you can learn in a few minutes just enjoying the photos and accompanying information on blogs. Great post.

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  11. Wow, I had no idea these bushes could live so long.
    Love the last photo with the bee on a yellow flower.

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  12. Didn't know all this cool stuff about creosote. Who knew they were so long lived? One small quibble: the current thinking is that syphilis was a new world bacterium brought back to Europe by the Columbus expedition. Not the other way around. It's the OCD, I can't stop quibbling.

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  13. Beautiful. I always learn something from your posts.

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