(Fonquieria splendens). This desert native, (pronounced
"o-ko-tee'-yo), is funnel shaped, with long, straight,
mostly un-branched stems. Although it is dry most of the year
and has spines up its branches, the Ocotillo is not a cactus
since it grows true leaves. The leaves are bright green and
bright red flowers grow in bunches at the end of the stems.
During dry times, all of these leaves fall off and the plant
looks like a dead skeleton. But as soon as it rains, it blooms
again almost immediately. This cycle is sometimes repeated several
times a year.
Ocotillo is called by many names such as Candlewood, Slimwood,
Coachwhip, Vine Cactus, Flaming Sword and Jacob's Staff. It
grows in the Sonoran Desert, which is located in the Southwestern
United States and Northern Mexico.