Fouquieria splendens, Ocotillo
Scientific Name: Fouquieria splendens
Common Name: Ocotillo
Also Called: Candlewood, Coach Whip, Devil's Walking Stick (Spanish: Ocotillo, Albarda, Barda, Ocotillo del Corral)
Family: Fouquieriaceae, Ocotillo Family
Synonyms: (Fouquieria splendens subsp. splendens)
Size: Up to 20 feet or more.
Growth Form: Tree/shrub; erect, woody, thorny with sharp spines, multiple unbranched stems originating at base, stems described as "whip-like".
Leaves: Green, bright green; obovate, drought and temperature deciduous, petioles present on first time leaf only, leaf petioles develop into a spine after the leaf drops; secondary leaves without petiole from axil below spine.
Flower Color: Red, bright red; flower is tubular shaped, flowers in terminal clusters on tips of branches, inflorescence is a panicle.
Flowering Season: April to June or later.
Elevation: Under 5,000.
Habitat Preferences: Shallow, well-drained soils of dry rocky slopes, mesas and bajadas or alluvial fans.
Recorded Range: Fouquieria splendens is relatively rare in the United States. It is native to Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. In Arizona it is found throughout much of the state.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Fouquieria splendens.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: the State of Arizona has listed Coach Whip (Fouquieria splendens) as Salvage restricted.
Comments: The Ocotillo is a thorny shrub or tree common in preferred habitats. It is a dominant or co-dominant species in certain Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert plant associations. The Ocotillo is a classic iconic plant often profiled in photographs of southwestern sunsets.
Fouquieria splendens has been used for food by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
Hualapai Drug, Orthopedic Aid, Roots used in a soothing bath for swollen feet.
Hualapai Fiber, Building Material, Branches used to construct huts.
Cahuilla Fiber, Building Material, Wood used to make fences to prevent rodents from attacking cultivated crops.
Papago Other, Ceremonial Items, Flexible rods used as the basis of ceremonial structures representing clouds or mountains.
Pima Fiber, Building Material, Stalks freed from thorns, bound together with rawhide or wire and used as shelves.
Yavapai Food, Snack Food, Flowers sucked by children for nectar.
See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.