AZ Arboretums

Fouquieria columnaris (Idria columnaris)

Boojum TreeCommon: Boojum tree, Cirio
Family: Fouquieriaceae
Origin: Native to Baja California and Sonoran desert
Temperature: Hardy to 15 degrees F
Light: Full sun
Soil: Most soils, well drained.
Water: Drought resistant but very sensitive to overwatering, especially during summer dormancy. Needs water during winter growing season.

Cultivated occasionally as a curiosity; thought by some to be the strangest looking plant on earth. Excellent rock or succulent garden plant. Interesting form.

Succulent plant thriving in hot dry southwestern desert. Conical trunk with spiked, radical branches. Extremely slow-growing. Reaches one foot mark in 10-20 years.

Gives appearance of inverted carrot. Very small branches and small leaves that do not lose much water; shed when weather gets hot and dry and return during rainy season. Numerous spines. Flowers cream colored or red, fruit capsule.

Plant from containers; the bigger the specimen, the better. There are no similar plants. The ocotillo is a relative.

In the early 1900's, an English botanist, an aficionado of Lewis Carroll ("Hunting of the Snark"), saw the strange Idria columnaris, unique to Baja California, and dubbed it a "Boojum." (The Boojum figures prominently in the poem, but is never described nor illustrated.)