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| Ocotillo, Coachwhip, Coachwhip Cactus, Vine Cactus, Slimwood, Jacob's Staff, Candlewood, Albarda, Barda, Ocote, Ochotilla|
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
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
Soil Requirements: adaptable