Virginia Tech Dendrology

ocotillo Fouquieriaceae Fouquieria splendens Engelm. Listen to the Latin symbol: FOSP2
Leaf: Helically alternate, leafless most of the year but occur quickly following rains, small (2 inches long) oval to obovate leaves, entire margins, fleshy, occur in bunches, gray-green.
Flower: Very attractive, tubular 1-inch flowers occur in 10 inch narrow clusters at the ends of the stems.
Fruit: Capsule that splits open with three valves, seeds are very small, winged and dispersed by wind.
Twig: Canes with no side shoots (wand-like), each is heavily armed with numerous spines.
Bark: Scaly, gray, brown, with time becoming reddish and papery.
Form: Unmistakable, numerous twisted canes originating from one point on the ground and spreading outward with height, reaches up to 20 feet.
Looks like: boojum tree
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Fouquieria splendens is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting ocotillo.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson