Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Creosote Bush

Creosote Bush, also known as greasewood (Larrea tridentata), is a prominent species in the Sonoran Desert. I've taken a photo or two of it on most of my five visits to the desert so far this spring. 
This photo, from Wikipedia, shows each stage of the flower. 
Interestingly, as a food item it is low on the list of plants. The leaves are bitter, so they are only eaten by chuckwallas and jackrabbits, when food is otherwise unavailable. Chuckwallas eat the flowers and wood rats and kangaroo rats eat the seeds.
I took this photo last week as the sun was coming over the nearby hill. It sparkled in the light like it was covered with water, although it had not been raining. 

As much or more than any desert plant I can think of, the flowers on any particular bush seem to be in very mixed stages of development at the same time. In the above photo, for example, a green bud, early in the stage, is to the left; a yellow flower with five petals, mid-stage, is to the right; and a fuzzball with seeds, toward the end stage, is in the middle.
Several of the flowers in the above photo are drying up and ready to fall off, leaving the fuzzball behind. 
Top right is a flower morphing into a fuzzball. Toward the bottom left is a flower just beyond its prime starting to wilt. 
A flower in its prime near several fuzzballs. 
The bush above has quite a few fuzzballs and the flowers seem to be mostly in advance stages of deterioration. 

No comments:

Post a Comment