oco·ti·llo | \ ˌō-kə-ˈtē-(ˌ)yō \
plural ocotillos

Definition of ocotillo 

: a thorny scarlet-flowered candlewood (Fouquieria splendens of the family Fouquieriaceae) of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico

Illustration of ocotillo

Illustration of ocotillo

Examples of ocotillo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Social media was filled with images of the vast fields of desert sunflowers, purple verbena, or fiery red ocotillo flowers. Ernie Cowan Outdoors, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Don’t expect epic bloom this season, but visit to desert still in order," 29 Jan. 2018 Mexican beige pebbles and Malibu landscape boulders came next, followed by aloes, succulents, Beaucarnea recurvata, ocotillo and camellia. Lisa Boone, latimes.com, "A Venice homeowner removed the lawn and replaced it with this colorful landscape," 12 Sep. 2017 Spotting a great blue heron in flight over a field of cactus and ocotillo in the Borrego desert just didn’t seem right. Ernie Cowan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Thanks to wetlands, heron not out of place in the desert," 21 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ocotillo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ocotillo

1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ocotillo

Mexican Spanish, diminutive of ocote, a resinous pine tree (Pinus montezuma), from Nahuatl ocotl pine, torch made of pine

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ocotillo

Statistics for ocotillo

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ocotillo

The first known use of ocotillo was in 1856

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on ocotillo

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ocotillo

Comments on ocotillo

What made you want to look up ocotillo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!