Pomanders and potpourri add fragrance to your space, just as creosote adds a lovely fragrance to our Sonoran desert world. Pomanders are more of something you create to hang in a space, like your closet, or wardrobe back in the day. Potpourri generally sits in a dish.  In this litigious age, Botanist Dr. Jacqueline Soule carefully says “pomanders are also said to deter moths.”

Historic Pomanders

Pomanders have traditionally been made by sticking cloves into oranges – both exotic plants back in the day. Pomanders are also created by mixing cinnamon and nutmeg with applesauce, forming it into a ball, and allowing it to cure (dry).

A pomander could be worn on the person, like on your waist!
Sonoran Scent

When I was exiled to Back East for work and degrees, I found myself aching for the scents of my desert home and would smuggle branches of creosote bush back with me after ever visit. They I came up with a better plan! I created these fun and fragrant pomanders!


Sonoran Pomander

You will need just two things: applesauce and dried creosote leaves.

Step 1. Dry leaves of creosote bush. Collect more than you think you need!

Step 2. Turn them into leaf “powder” in a blender.

Step 3. Create the pomander
Mix three parts creosote leaf powder to one part applesauce.


Form: Form into walnut sized balls, or pat into thick disks.

Add ribbon if you wish to hang them (later!). Poke ribbon into the center with a toothpick. You can also use small cookie cutters to make impressions if you wish.

Not bigger than walnuts or they crack as they dry!

Cure: You do have to let these dry well prior to hanging or gifting. It takes 4-7 days, and turn them every so often.

If you add white glue – be sure to dry then on waxed paper because they can be sticky.

If you get the mix too wet and have no more leaf powder, use a mild spice (like nutmeg) to add more “powder.” Cinnamon is too strong and does not blend well with creosote. Don’t use a powder that moths eat, like flour or mesquite meal.

Want it to really hang together? Substitute white glue for some or all of the applesauce.

Once they are dried – hang one of these in your car and carry the desert with you as you drive!


Learn more about using Sonoran plants around the home in Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there we will get a few pennies.  Better yet – visit us in person – we carry copies with us! Savorist Monica King is at the Arivaca’s Farmers Market on Saturdays, or come to one of Savorist Jacqueline Soule’s free lectures. We try to mention both events on our Facebook page.

© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. You can use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit, plus you must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

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