It’s Trivia Tuesday, folks! Did you know that the ocotillo, found all over the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park in Texas is a shrub and not a cactus? Those spindly, evilly-thorny branches can grow up to 20 feet tall! In the spring, at the tips of each branch grow a cluster of little bright orange-red flowers, the nectar of which attracts carpenter ants and hummingbirds.
And now you know!
Click on each image to see where they go.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
For my first vacation of the year, I drove from my home in southeast Texas to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas – a 13-hour drive (if my friend or her husband had let me borrow one of their brand new Corvettes, it might have only been a 2-hour drive)
I’d visited the park back in December 2013 and I returned to that park for two reasons: the starry night skies (it was a new moon when I visited) and the blooming cacti.
So, where does the ocotillo come in?
Because it’s not a cactus.
Even though it has thorns. Lots of ‘em.
No, an ocotillo is a shrub. Most of the year, it looks dead. But, when it rains, it puts out lots of little green leaves and these beautiful, orange-red tubular blooms. The leaves fall off pretty quickly in an effort to conserve water, but these blooms remain for a bit longer. Ocotillos can live between 60-100 years and grow 20 feet tall.
The ocotillo is a pretty cool plant.