Fouquieria Species, Boojum Tree, Cirio

Fouquieria columnaris

Family: Fouquieriaceae
Genus: Fouquieria (foo-KWEER-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: columnaris (kol-LUM-nair-iss) (Info)
Synonym:Fouquieria gigantea
Synonym:Idria columnaris
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Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

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)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona

Chandler, Arizona

Gold Canyon, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Bostonia, California

Encinitas, California

San Diego, California(2 reports)

San Leandro, California

San Marino, California

Santa Barbara, California

Miami, Florida

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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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... read more


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.


On Nov 19, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, 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.


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)