The Turpentine Bush

Last updated on October 31st, 2023 at 06:21 am

The Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia).  It is in the Asteraceae family. It is a native plant to New Mexico, Arizona, and West Texas.  A desert landscape bush that is adapted to the desert southwest.  City, County, and State landscapers use this shrub for their landscaping needs.  It is drought-tolerant and requires extraordinarily little maintenance.  It can withstand temperatures down to 10°F making it 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.  However, it is best not to be placed 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 close-up view.


Use this low-water plant in xeriscape and rock gardens as it does not mind the reflected heat from walls or rocks.  It’s perfect for that full sunspot 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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