One of the most common native shrubs in Texas and northern Mexico. Grows 48 feet tall and about as wide, with many upright branches. Straggly and open in shallow, dry soil; with more constant moisture, becomes attractive and densely foliaged, with rounded, spreading form. Leathery, yellow-green to dark green leaves divided into two inches-long crescents. Gummy secretion makes leaves look varnished and yields distinctive creosote odor, especially notice- able after rain. Small yellow flowers bloom off and on all year, followed by small, roundish fruit covered with shiny white or rusty hairs.
This plant does not need fertilizer, but one or two doses of balanced liquid fertilizer during the course of the growing season will produce shiny, dark green leaves. Use as wind or privacy screen, foundation shrub, or small tree. Long taproot makes it very drought tolerant but also makes established plants difficult to transplant. Needs well-drained soil. Not a good choice for high-rainfall, high-humidity areas. Sometimes sold as L. divaricata.