STUART WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STUART WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is a resident of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts of southeast California to west Texas and south into Mexico. It branches at the base into numerous straight branches angling outward and rising as high as 20 feet. Most of the year it remains dormant, except immediately after rain. It produces oval leaves about two inches long, appearing in bunches above sharp spines. The leaves quickly wither as desert temperatures climb.
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