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.