Creosote Rings Preserve
|A short drive east from Lucerne Valley, California exists
what is believed to be one of the oldest living plants on earth. Creosote
bushes, sometimes referred to as greasewood have been found in the Mohave
desert near Old Woman Springs and dead pieces of the wood have been radiocarbon dated to be over
9,000 years old. One particular bush, named King-Clone has received
My first visit to find these Creosote Rings, September 2002:
Second visit, equipped with a camera and information I learned from the
Internet, October 2002:
Read the details about the exciting discovery of King-Clone in an online
excerpt from the book "Gathering
The Desert" by Gary Paul Nabhan.
|Here is some interesting information about the Creosote
bush I found at the
DesertUSA Website. Visit their website for more information about the
fascinating desert around us.
www.DesertUSA.com You will also find a very well-written article
the Trail of the Creosote" with text by Linda McMillin Pyle and photos
by DesertUSA Photographers.
(reprinted with permission)
All four southwestern deserts. Southern Nevada, extreme southwest Utah, southeastern California, southern third of Arizona, southern New Mexico, into west Texas and south into Mexico.
Well-drained slopes and plains, especially those with a layer of caliche, up to 4,000 feet. Often the most abundant shrub, even forming pure stands.
Inch-wide twisted, yellow petals bloom from February-August. Some individuals maintain flowers year round. After the Creosote blooms the flower turns into a small white fuzzy fruit capsule that has 5 seeds. You can find these seed capsules on the ground under the creosote bushes.
Globose, hairy, reddish-white.
The Creosote Bush is the most characteristic feature of North America's hot deserts. It is one of the best examples of a plant that tolerates arid conditions simply by its toughness. It competes aggressively with other plants for water, and usually wins, accounting for its prevalence in many arid locations of the southwest.
This medium-to-large evergreen shrub has numerous flexible stems projecting at an angle from its base. It is usually less than 4 feet high, but can grow to 12-foot heights with abundant water. Its small (1/4 to 1/2 inches), pointed, yellow-green leaves have adapted to conserve water and dissipate heat. The bush may lose some of these waxy, resinous leaves during extreme drought, but never loses them all. These leaves are especially pungent after a rain, and have been used as antiseptics and emetics by native peoples. Its foliage provides refuge for crickets, grasshoppers and praying mantids.
How to grow from seeds.
Place several of these seed capsules in a shallow pan cover with boiling water. Let them soak over night, and then place a few seed capsules in a pot with soil and start to water. Thin out the extra seedlings and plant.
-- A.R Royo
|Creosote Rings Preserve Location: In the
California Mohave desert between Lucerne Valley and Johnson Valley on
Highway 247. Head north on Bessimer Mine Road. Approximately .6 miles from
the highway on the east side of the road you will find the beginning of a fenced area, triangle shaped, protecting the
ancient Creosote rings. The rough dirt road is accessible with any vehicle that
has good ground clearance, 4wd is not necessary. You must park and walk
in. Good Luck!
Take a photo tour .
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