Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Boojum Tree, Cirio
Fouquieria columnaris

Family: Fouquieriaceae
Genus: Fouquieria (foo-KWEER-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: columnaris (kol-LUM-nair-iss) (Info)

Synonym:Idria columnaris

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

Unknown - Tell us

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Late Fall/Early Winter
Mid Winter


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 66 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive poeciliopsis On Jan 23, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- Surprisingly, Boojum tree grows rather well in pots. I have a plant that I acquired about 1995 as a finger-sized specimen. It is now two feet tall -- I might actually live long enough to see it become a real tree? I keep the pot outside all year long in partial shade. I water it only a couple times a year, when the thornless hedgehog cactus in the pot with it starts to get too wrinkled. Otherwise it is dependent on what rain we get.

Positive Baja_Costero On Nov 22, 2012, Baja_Costero from Baja California
Mexico (Zone 11) wrote:

Bizarre giant tree, native to Baja California's slice of the Sonoran Desert, often found with the massive cardn cactus. Known as a cirio here where it's from. Also a couple of populations in the state of Sonora.

Looks like an inverted carrot, sometimes with high branches in the trunk. Studded with short lateral branches that carry the leaves, and then spines (which are the hard remnant that's left when the leaves fall).

Enjoys lots of sun at a relatively young age and appreciates regular water during the winter and spring when it's in leaf. Drought and/or summer-deciduous, approaching dormant... do not (over)water at this time.

Grows very different in a pot compared to the ground. Natural bonsais in habitat (growing in cracks in the rock or other small spaces) have the same squat, chunky look when their roots are confined.

Positive oceanmystic On Aug 25, 2006, oceanmystic from San Diego, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Bizarrely beautiful I have visited them in their native forests in Baja California. The forest can look almost like italian cypress when the Boojum are in full leaf. The curling branches and leaders can look like arms reaching down to capture those passing beneath. They grow intermixed with Cardon cactus.... like a Sajuarro only five times bigger.
I have one growing in a pot for the last 10 years. It has gained about one foot of height in all that time. I do not treat it well.

Positive Xenomorf On Nov 19, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

What a spectacle! Theres one growing in Phoenix, zone 9a that has leaves now (Late October & November, Fall) that's about 35-45 feet tall. I hear they can get up to 70 feet.

Positive palmbob On Aug 17, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a really bizzare succulent often used in large botanical gardens as peculariarities in their xeriscape sections. It basically looks like a tall tapering pole with a few twig-like branches here and there. The branches are covered with large, sharp thorns. The plant only is in leaf for a short time of the year (spring to early summer here in So Cal)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona
Chandler, Arizona
Gold Canyon, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Tucson, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Encinitas, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Leandro, California
San Marino, California
Santa Barbara, California
Miami, Florida

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