Definition of ocotillo in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌōkəˈtēyō/

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.
Example sentences
  • 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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·co·til·lo

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.