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Location

  • San Diego Zoo

Gardens

Plants: Species

Ocotillo, African or Madagascar Ocotillo Alluadia procera

FAMILY: Didiereaceae Family

The largest and most popular of the four genera that exist in the Didiereaceae family, the Madagascar ocotillo, or African ocotillo, is an emergent tree that grows in spiny thicket forests. It can be up to 33 feet (10 meters) tall. The growing habits of Alluadias are vertical with some horizontal branches. The spines are longer than the leaf to help conserve moisture for the plant's health and to help protect it from being nibbled on by wildlife. The Didiereaceae family has adapted so the spines collect the mist from fog that develops part of the year in that region of Madagascar. The moisture is collected on the spines and then falls to the root zone of the plant. The Malagasy people will collect the condensed droplets and use this as drinking water.