Monday, April 23, 2012

Ocotillo Fence

Even with its long spines, ocotillo is a succulent and not a cactus at all. Most of the year it looks like a bundle of sticks, but during the Spring and in wet seasons, the dry looking sticks are covered with small green leaves. Also in the Spring, it has brilliant red flowers at the end of each stalk. For centuries, the inhabitants of the desert have used ocotillo for walls, fences and roofs. When I lived in the jungle, I was fascinated with the way fences of cut branches would grow by just being stuck in the ground. The same thing happens with ocotillo. When these sticks are cut from the plant, if there is any water at all in soil, they will sprout and grow. Unfortunately, this fence appears mostly dead.

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