13th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest
Springtime for Ocotillos in New Mexico
It’s Spring on the high desert, and this year, this native to the Sonoran and the Chihuahuan deserts is showing an unusually lush display of flowers. The Ocotillo will grow in Phoenix, but seems happiest from 2,000 to around 4800 feet in elevation. It does not grow in mile-high Albuquerque or points north of there. Our yard is at 4200 feet. These are not cactus plants but have woody “wands” with thorns that will hurt you if you grab them. No one really knows how they work, but they think water is absorbed through the wands more than the roots. Although they grow wild here, this one is from the mountains around Tucson, planted by me in my backyard on Good Friday, 2008. It is now 12 feet tall.
© David Johnson.
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||July 19, 2015, 7:02 p.m.