King Clone – Lucerne Valley, California - Atlas Obscura

King Clone

A ring of creosote bushes that are estimated to be 11,700 years old. 


Located in the Mojave Desert, these Creosote bushes have been discovered to be a clonal colony. A clonal colony is a group of genetically identical plants that grew from a single original plant. These plants are often considered to be the same living organism.

This particular plant’s age was measured using two methods: radiocarbon dating and measurement of growth. In the first method, pieces of wood from the center of the ring were analyzed to find the amount of the radioisotope carbon-14 present. The second method measured the amount of time a clonal creosote bush takes to grow outward in a ring. Both methods arrived at the same conclusions, giving an estimated age of 11,700 years.

The land that King Clone resides on is mostly unprotected. This means that, unfortunately, many people may drive over it with all-terrain vehicles. But it also means visitors can go see King Clone in person.

Know Before You Go

A photo tour detailing the directions is available here:

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