The Turpentine Bush

Last Updated on December 26, 2019 by Paul Guzman

The Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia).  It is a native plant to New Mexico, Arizona,  and West Texas.  A desert landscape bush that is well adapted to the desert southwest.  City, County, and State landscapers use this shrub for their landscaping needs.  It is drought tolerant and requires very little maintenance.  It can withstand temperatures down to 10°F making an excellent plant where temperatures are freezing during the winter months but hot dry days during summer.

How did Turpentine Bush Get its Name?

The bush got its name from the sticky turpentine smell of its foliage.  It also repels deer, rabbits and the pecary pig.  The turpentine bush loves the full hot sun as it will struggle in partial or full shade.  It produces bright yellow blooms in late summer or early fall.  It will grow about 3-4 ft. tall and wide.

Plant two, three or more in a row for a great yellow flowering effect during the late summer seasons.  However, it is best not to place close to a home-dwelling or building as they are highly flammable.  Their stems at the bottom are bare and naked but the top leaves are dark green during the spring and winter seasons.  Crushing the foliage will produce a strong smell.  A good plant for Xeriscape or rock gardens.

The Turpentine Bush
The yellow flower of the Turpentine bush. Click the image for a closeup view.


Use this low water pant in xeriscape and rock gardens as it does not mind the reflected heat from walls or rocks.  It’s perfect for that full sun spot where nothing seems to grow.  If you love easy care low plant this one will do just fine.  Finding this plant at your local nursery is hard as most nurseries do not carry it.  But if you do find it…get it, plant it and watch it grow.

Check to see if this plant does well in your Plant Hardiness Zone.

See other desert plant names and pictures. 

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