For most of the year the ocotillo appears devoid of life, but its dry, woody, thorny stems sprout small green leaves in spring and after heavy rains, followed by a cluster of bright red flowers at the apex of each branch. The plant inhabits open, gravelly slopes, and is found all across the Southwest deserts from west Texas to southeast California.
When the sweet smell of spring rain awakens the wildflowers of the Arizona desert a transformation begins to turn the desert landscape from cold dirt and barren plants into the lush desert of bountiful and bursting color. It is as if Arizona's desert took one look at Monet's painting and brought it to life.
Arizona desert--half of the bird species in America make their homes in AZ and NM deserts. So do 104 mammals, including jaguars, ocelots and javelinas. Human encroachment threatens these habitats, but global warming and drought may be the worst.
This plant has several name, depending on where you find yourself. In west Texas it's called Purple Sage; also known as: Texas Ranger Plant and in Arizona it is commonly called Purple Texas Sage. This plant needs no attention at all. It blooms when there is moisture in the air, thus announcing rain for us in drought-stricken areas. Grows in full sun.