Fouquieria splendens

More closely related to tea and blueberries than to cactuses, this spiny plant responds to local rainfall with a lush sprout of green leaves. Without supplemental irrigation the Ocotillo can look like spiny sticks during dry spells. Also referred to as Buggywhip, Coachwhip, Candlewood, Slimwood and Desert Coral.

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Status: Native
Origin: Rocky soils and upslopes of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts
Family: Fouquieriaceae
Size: 15′ – 20′
Sun: Full
Watering: Supplemental only
Growth Rate: Moderate
Soil: Tolerant of a wide variety of soil types
Temperature: Hardy to 10 degrees F
Pruning: None
Disease and Pests: Root rot if drainage is poor
Uses: Flower intensity and duration are related to the Hummingbird and carpenter bee pollinators. Host for the Calleta SilkmothGeometrid moths (family Geometridae), and Slug Caterpillar Moths (family Limacodidae)
Notes: In addition to Fouquieria splendens, there are two other prominent species that are native to our North American deserts. Fouquieria macdougalii (Mexican ocotillo tree) is from Sonora and north Sinaloa, Mexico and is similar but much smaller to 6 feet in height and more cold sensitive than ocotillo. The other is the boojum tree.


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