April 16, 2005 - Southwest Desert,
Washington County, Utah - ©Nicky Davis
Syn. Creosote Bush
Grows to 10 feet tall
with 1/8 inch leather textured
leaves. Bark is reddish brown at the base becoming almost white
at the top. In March through May it bears tiny yellow
flowers that develop into a fuzzy seed-bearing capsules. Some of
these plants have been carbon dated at more than 10,000 years old.
American Indians of the Southwest used this plant for treatment
of everything from tumors to topical skin treatments including
sunscreen. Recent cases of liver damage have been attributed to
internal use of the plant and it is unknown why the plant is harming
people now after thousands of years of safe medicinal use.
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