CACTUS & OTHERS
Ocotillo is a bajada resident that can be relied on to bloom annually, even
without leafing in particularly dry springs. It is an inverted,
funnel-shaped desert plant with several woody, spiny, whip-like, straight
branches angling outward from the base and rising as high as 20 feet.
Ocotillo are leafless most of the year, except immediately after rain; the leaves then quickly wither after the soil dries out. These narrow, oval leaves are about 2 inches long, appearing in bunches above spines. Red flowers are 1/2 to 1 inch in length, with five short lobes curled back into 10-inch clusters. They appear at the ends of branches March through June or later, depending on rainfall. Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southeast California to west Texas and south into Mexico. Open, stony, well-drained desert slopes below 5,000 feet.