With more than 4,000 plant species and subspecies on the Baja peninsula, this area of the world is a botanist’s dream. Even for the casual observer, the plant life is incredible. More than 400 plants are native to this spot of Mexico.
One of the more unusual looking ones is the bajoom tree, which also goes by the names cirio and elephant tree. Bajoom came from Lewis Caroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark,” while cirio means candle in Spanish, which in some ways it is what the tree looks like. Some people have said the bajooms are like something out of Dr. Seuss, others say they look like an upside down carrot.
They are part of the ocotillo family.
Bajooms are only located in Baja and Sonora, Mexico, with the majority on the peninsula. They are found near the town (if you can call it that) of Cataviña in Alta Baja. The second largest natural protected area in Mexico is the Valle de los Cirios. It goes coast-to-coast, with the southern tip at the boundary of the state of Guerro Negro and north section just below El Rosario. This is where this strange looking flora call home. A forest of them can be found on the road to Bahía de los Ángeles.
These spindly trees look like they have hair on the trunk. It’s the trunk that stores water, allowing it to survive in the desert.
“The bark is greenish-yellow and it produces yellowish-green, sharp thorns at the base of each leaf cluster. Twiggy spikes occur along the entire trunk of this specimen, all the way to the top,” according to Horticulture Unlimited.
Yellow-ish flowers bloom at the top and dangle down. It can take them 50 years before they flower. Blossoms occur between July and September, spurred on by rains. The trees can stretch 80 feet in the air, though most grow to about 50 feet. They can live for hundreds of years.