Saturday, March 16, 2013

Creosote in Bloom


Creosote bushes dot the landscape across the Sonoran desert. So common that they become background to the solid saguaros and willowy ocotillos, creosote bushes show their green leaves and lemon yellow flowers in the spring of the year. In the winter this plant looks very olive and brown, quite drab, but spring brings on color.

Here's a closer look at the very common, very widespread creosote in March of this year. For those of us with northern heritage, this might be another mention of the substance that was used to treat wood to keep it from rotting, as creosote treated lumber was used extensively for years to build fences and decks.

I thought that the substance used in treated wood comes from this plant, but further reading about creosote reveals that coal tars are involved in producing the some of the compounds known as creosotes. If you take Mucinex for a cold, you might want to read the Wikipedia article about creosotes, since guaifenesin, the expectorant used in Mucinex and Robitussin appears to be derived from creosotes. Interesting reading about an interesting compound that related to plants.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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