Turpentine Broom

Common Names:
Turpentine Broom, Mojave Desert Rue
Scientific name:
Thamnosma montana
Elevation range:
300 to 6,800 ft
Flowering Months:
February, March, April, May
Height | Length:
1 - 2 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
Ancestral Usage:
medicinal
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Mojave, Sonoran

Turpentine Broom 3

Turpentine Broom in the desert

Thamnosa montana has dark purple flowers and the corolla is cylindrical with an exserted stigma. Flowers occur along the axis of the bright green stems. Joshua Tree National Park | February 27, 2015

Turpentine Broom 4

Turpentine Broom in the desert

Thamnosa montana is a rounded shrub with many branches and erect, resinous stems that are somewhat thorny at the top. It is generally leafless but leaves appear for a short time after rains and dropped in drought. Joshua Tree National Park | February 27, 2015

Turpentine Broom 2

Turpentine Broom in the desert

Fruit of Thamnosa montana is bright green, round and leathery, with 2 or 3 rounded lobes. The stigma is often persistent for a time after the fruit develops. This plant is in the Rutaceae (Citrus) family, which is obvious looking at the fruit.  Joshua Tree National Park | April 2015