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[oh-kuh-teel-yoh; Spanish aw-kaw-tee-yaw] /ˌoʊ kəˈtil yoʊ; Spanish ˌɔ kɔˈti yɔ/
noun, plural ocotillos
[oh-kuh-teel-yohz; Spanish aw-kaw-tee-yaws] /ˌoʊ kəˈtil yoʊz; Spanish ˌɔ kɔˈti yɔs/ (Show IPA)
a spiny, woody shrub, Fouqueria splendens, of arid regions of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, having a tight cluster of red flowers at the tip of each branch.
1855-60, Americanism; < Mexican Spanish, diminutive of ocote kind of pine < Nahuatl ocotl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ocotillo
  • Duplication of solar orientation when transplanting is crucial for cacti but not necessary for smaller ocotillo.
  • If it dries out again, the ocotillo sheds its leaves.
British Dictionary definitions for ocotillo


noun (pl) -los
a cactus-like tree, Fouquieria splendens, of Mexico and the southwestern US, with scarlet tubular flowers: used for hedges and candlewood: family Fouquieriaceae
Word Origin
Mexican Spanish: diminutive of ocote pine, from Nahuatl ocotl torch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for ocotillo

((Fouquieria splendens) flowering spiny shrub characteristic of rocky deserts from western Texas to southern California and southward into Mexico. It is a member of the candlewood family (Fouquieriaceae), which belongs to the order Ericales. Near the plant's base the stem divides into several slender, erect, widespreading, intensely spiny branches, usually about 2.5 to 6 metres (8 to 20 feet) long. The branches bear small, rounded leaves, which fall soon after the end of the winter rainy season, leaving behind the leaf stalks, which harden and develop into stout spines (see ). The bright scarlet flowers are in showy branched terminal clusters 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches) long. Ocotillo is grown as a hedge plant and occasional ornamental in its native range

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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