Virga is the name for precipitation that does not reach the ground. It hangs across the desert like a torn curtain. When rain does fall, the unique scent of a desert storm comes from the oil released by the creosote bush, and this odor has a scientific name, petrichor, derived from pétros, the Greek word for stone, and ichor, the mythic golden blood of the gods. In Mexico, the creosote bush is called gobernadora or “the governess” because its root system crowds out nearby plants. This is why they appear so evenly spaced apart. There’s a creosote known as “King Clone” in the Mojave Desert that is 11,700 years old. The Mojave is a rain shadow desert because it is surrounded by mountains that absorb the damp winds from the Pacific and dry the air on the leeward slopes.