Ocotillos are common to the Sonoran Desert and are among the most unique plants in the southwest. Ocotillo is Spanish for Little Torch, referring to the bright red flowers at the end of the stems. Ocotillos bloom once in the spring to coincide with the Hummingbird migration. If you look very closely at the flowers, you will see that they are tubular, just perfect for a hummingbird's beak.
Many people think of Ocotillos as a cactus, but they are, in fact, a thorny shrub. This becomes clear when there is plentiful rainfall and small leaves quickly appear. These leaves provide a quick source of extra food through photosynthesis. During the dry season, the leaves disappear as quickly as they came to retain moisture within the plant. Teresa Peters