Click on image for full screen view.


Ocotillo, Coachwhip, Coachwhip Cactus, Vine Cactus, Slimwood, Jacob's Staff, Candlewood, Albarda, Barda, Ocote, Ochotilla
Fouquieria splendens


Characteristic of the Trans-Pecos's Chihuahuan Desert, Ocotillo is one of its most unmistakable shrubs, with long, wand-like, thorny branches that rise from the crown. In the spring brilliant red flowers bloom from the ends of the stems. Small bright green leaves appear in response to rains and disappear with drought. It is common in desert flats and also on slopes and mesas from sea level to 6,000 feet, growing on rocky, shallow, calcareous or igneous soils, usually over caliche. Ocotillo's flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds and bees. It is often used to make living fences, since it roots so easily one can just put cuttings directly in the ground. We do not recommend using this plant because, since it is slow growing, mature specimens which are often used in landscapes have been harvested from the wild. If it must be used, only plants verifiably salvaged from other landscapes or from areas being denuded by new development should be purchased.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub
large shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: scarlet red

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: ovoid capsule containing many flat, winged seeds

Height: to 15 feet

Width: to 6 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7

Additional Comments:

| Index of Scientific Names | Index of Common Names | Photo Gallery Index |