Larrea tridentata (syn. Larrea divaricata subsp. tridentata) Zygophyllaceae
- Evergreen shrub, vase-shaped, 3-10 ft (0.9-3 m) tall, slow growing, open in shallow, dry soils, dense when water is more available; darker swollen nodes, gray bark. Leaves opposite, compound, 2 leaflets fused at the base, each less than 18 mm × 8 mm, lanceolate to curved, usually yellow-green with a glossy surface, darker and aromatic (creosote odor) after rainfall. Flowers about 3 cm wide, yellow, appear over much to the year, but especially in spring. Fruit rounded capsule, 4.5 mm wide, covered with whitish to rusty hairs.
- Sun and reflected heat. Not fussy about soil. Can be used as a specimen plant or massed for a screen or hedge. Possibly because it is so common in the desert, one Arizona website states that its "attractiveness is a matter of personal preference", suggesting that more than a few desert inhabitants consider it ugly. (Of course, "attractiveness" of any plant is a matter of personal preference... as is wallpaper.)
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 Native and very common in the deserts of southeastern California, Arizona, southern Utah, western Texas, and northern Mexico. Sometimes plants appear as if carefully spaced, possibly due to wide spreading roots and allopathy.
- tridentata: 3 toothed.