Tuesday, March 27, 2007

To The Point

Or points as it were. All manner of spiky, spiny, sharp things live in the sonoran desert. Among these is the ocotillo plant. Also called coach whip or vine cactus, this may be one of the most under appreciated plants in the cactus family.

Most of the year this plant sorta looks like an angry collection of very dry sticks. No leaves, no flowers- nothing but thorns. This time of year however, they are covered with tiny oval-ish green leaves, and topped with reddish orange blooms at the end of the branches.

It is common to see verdin, cactus wren, thrashers and hummingbirds hanging out towards the tops of these plants as well- an amusing site to see since most of them have to work a little to perch on the mainly vertical branches.

What I love most about this plant however, are theintricate details no one notices. Each individual plant is so incredible unique. The number and shape of branches, the thickness of the branches, the density of the thorns, and the floral and leaf growth seem to vary widely between specimens.

This plant's unique features and interesting shapes make it an excellent subject for imagery and an interesting and integral part of the local scenery. Certainly, its worth a look.

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