Ocotillo facts


Five Things You Should Know About Ocotillo

If you live in Arizona and you are thinking of planting Ocotillo plants at your home or business, here are five facts you should know.

1. The habitat is rough

One of the things that separates the Ocotillo from many other types of plants is that this is one that prefers very rocky, open terrain. The reason is that this plant needs soil that is well-drained, something you are going to find in rocky slopes and desert grasslands. This plant is also common on mesas and washes.

2. It responds to the rain

All plants need rain. Water is essential to their survival. However, one of the things that makes the Ocotillo such a unique plant is that it responds directly to rain. Because the roots of this plant are extremely shallow, it is dependent upon those rare desert storms for its survival. When rain occurs, the roots capture the rain and leaves begin to grow within 24 hours. 

Why this is so unique is that most plants take in water through the leaves. This is not the case with the Ocotillo. Instead, leaves form because of the rain.

3. You can see its growth spurts

If you are familiar with trees and aging, you know that you can tell how old a tree is by the number of rings it has. In the case of the Ocotillo, it also provides you with information about the number of growth spurts it has based upon the sections in the plant. Each section is formed according to a growth spurt, so you can tell when the plant has undergone these types of rapid growths.

4. It always has a flower for you

You have learned that leaves form and response to rain. This means that if droughts occur, then no leaves will form. However, the Ocotillo will always produce flowers, even during times of extreme drought. The reason is that the plant will still go through the germination process to enable the next generation of plants to pollinate and form.

5. An Ocotillo by any other name

One of the interesting facts related to the Ocotillo is that it goes by many different names. This plant is often referred to by name such as the Candlewood, Slimwood, Coachwhip, Vine Cactus, Jacob’s Staff, and Flaming Sword. All of these names are referring to the same plant, however.

As you can see, the Ocotillo is an unusual plant that seems like a perfect fit for the Arizona climate.

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