The Red Ocotillo
The Red Ocotillo.
Thanks to the keen eyes 👀 of a friend (not on Flickr) for spotting this plant. I was busy driving and keeping my eyes on the road. She said "Look! A red ocotillo!" At first I said "Well, they can have bright red blooms from time to time. But no... this was a case of almost the entire ocotillo being red in color.
This is the very first time I've ever seen such a thing. It turns out that apparently it's a rare phenomenon for the ocotillo. When this plant drops its leaves, they usually simply turn yellow, and then fall. But sometimes, particularly if the weather is cool, they turn red as seen here.
Fouquieria splendens (commonly known as ocotillo American Spanish: [okoˈtiʝo], but also referred to as coachwhip, candlewood, slimwood, desert coral, Jacob's staff, Jacob cactus, and vine cactus) is a plant indigenous to the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert in the Southwestern United States (southern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), and northern Mexico (as far south as Hidalgo and Guerrero).
Ocotillo is not a true cactus. For much of the year, the plant appears to be an arrangement of large spiny dead sticks, although closer examination reveals that the stems are partly green. With rainfall, the plant quickly becomes lush with small (2–4 cm), ovate leaves, which may remain for weeks or even months.