Fantastic thorny denizens of the southwest American deserts, some dozen species include branching shrubs, trees with trunks, and the unique Ocotillo, a towering spray of branchless, wandlike stems. Seemingly lifeless through many parched months, with rainfall it sprouts tender green leaves and showy red blossoms. Its thorny stems form a splendid living fence. Other species bloom in purple, creamy yellow or white. Hummingbirds throng to their nectar. Different native tribes ate the fruit, softened leather with the resin, and steeped the roots and flowers for medicine. Give them high ground in the landscape, where their silhouettes can stand out against the sky. Plant bare-root or container plants anytime in sandy, well-drained soil, staking until established. Desert survivors, they need full sun and handle temperatures from 10º to 120º F. Let dry out between waterings during the summer, just spray the branches as weather cools, and keep dry in winter. Overly wet soil can cause rot.