Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

That Lush Desert Look

It’s been raining here in Southeastern Arizona, and the yard has taken on its summer greenery, and this is what that looks like:

Yard looking southeast

Yard looking southeast

Yard looking northeast, to Rincon Peak

Yard looking northeast, toward Rincon Peak

Today, I’d like to show you the ocotillos (Fouquieria splendens), because they’re looking so fine after the rains. The ocotillos are the tall green sticks in the pictures.

From the hilltop, looking back down

From the hilltop, looking back down

They leaf out like this any time it rains (kinda like the sage blooming schedule). They look all fuzzy and soft, don’t they?

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Ocotillo leaves, close up

Ocotillo leaves, close up

Don’t be fooled: almost all of the native flora around here bite! Here’s a piece of one without the soft green leaves.

Ocotillo, as it normally looks

Ocotillo, as it normally looks

Ocotillos are not cacti, but are related to a family of trees that includes the Boojum Tree, which is a real thing and is native to Mexico. I happen to know of a Boojum that lives locally, and sometime I’m going to get a picture of it to show you, because it’s so very odd-looking. Yes, it got its name from the Lewis Carroll poem—no, not Jabberwocky, one of the other ones. Actually it’s from The Hunting of the Snark (I looked it up). Here are more ocotillos:

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So far this year, we’ve had 4.7″ of rain, or about half of what we usually get by this time of year. It’s been a very hard year for even the native plants here. I mentioned the giant old ocotillo that died near the house. Here’s another one that didn’t make it.

Dying ocotillo

Dying ocotillo

Again you can see its vicious spines.

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Most of the year, the ocotillos look like this dead one (only not bent downward). I mean, they look like bundles of dead sticks. With spines.

I’m not fond of the ocotillos, and would love to replace each and every one of them with saguaro cacti, but I’m realistic about my yard here: as long as they don’t plop themselves down in the middle of a path I have running, and as long as they don’t ask for extra water from the well, they may live anywhere they want.
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2 thoughts on “That Lush Desert Look

  1. AWESOME POST! It is so weird how they look so dead then leaf out after it rains.

  2. Thanks, Rooster!
    It is weird that they look like dead sticks most of the time. But they seem even hardier than the cacti, and didn’t mind getting snowed on (4″!) last winter.
    When the leaves die, they turn yellow, and that looks kinda nice too đŸ™‚
    Thanks again for stopping by!

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