oco·​ti·​llo | \ ˌō-kə-ˈtē-(ˌ)yō How to pronounce ocotillo (audio) \
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 It’s not uncommon for students at the Bisbee Unified School District to live in Mexico and travel here daily through ports in sprawling valleys dotted by ocotillo. Los Angeles Times, "Pandemic closures alter the rhythm of life in towns on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border," 22 Dec. 2020 There's also the hip year-old hotel Willow House, a cluster of minimalist cubes scattered in a field of ocotillo plants. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "West Texas Is More Than Just Marfa," 18 May 2020 Many of us are finding comfort now in remembering the enveloping smell of warm pine on a sunny day or the sight of ocotillo in bloom after a desert rain. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, "21 new and classic books to keep you in touch with the natural world," 6 Apr. 2020 Massive chain fruit cholla, ocotillo and (of course) saguaros grow profusely on the sunny desert plains. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Every great thing about the Sonoran Desert is on display in this easy hike," 15 Jan. 2020 Joshua trees begin sprouting their creamy blossoms in February, and bright splotches from blooming cacti and wildflowers—including the desert lily, sand verbena, and ocotillo—dot the desert floor through April. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Joshua Tree National Park Travel Guide," 28 Oct. 2019 A million lights drape saguaros, ocotillos and paloverde trees as luminarias guide visitors along shimmering pathways through the park’s 49 acres. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Here's where to see the best Christmas lights around Arizona," 22 Nov. 2019 In Presidio, Randy Kennedy’s debut novel, the landscape of the Panhandle, West Texas, and the Mexican border, with its caliche and shin oaks and pumpjacks and ocotillo, brushes alongside the plot like an intricate central character. Eve Macsweeney, Vogue, "In Randy Kennedy’s Presidio, a Startling Road Trip Thriller Full of Twists and Turns," 17 Aug. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for ocotillo

Time Traveler

The first known use of ocotillo was in 1856

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Statistics for ocotillo

Last Updated

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ocotillo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ocotillo. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ocotillo

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