noun (plural ocotillos)chiefly US
A spiny, scarlet-flowered desert shrub of the southwestern US and Mexico, sometimes planted as a hedge.
- Fouquieria splendens, family Fouquieriaceae.
- Yet in another area hit by a recent heavy rain, the ironwood trees and the spiny ocotillos are flush with new green leaves.
- You'll traverse a series of high valleys, ravines, and washes filled with a variety of plants, including purple barrel cactus and stands of ocotillos.
- The most common shrubs are creosote bush, ocotillo, and bur sage.
Mid 19th century: via American Spanish (diminutive form) from Nahuatl ocotl 'torch'.
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