Although it looks like a cactus, this plant is not. How can you tell?


This is an Ocatillo plant. The Ocatillo plant has real leaves, but they are only present during wet weather. When the weather is dry, the leaves fall off, leaving the long, woody stems that are covered with sharp thorns. By dropping its leaves during dry weather, the plant prevents water loss.

Because the stems usually have no leaves, and are covered with thorns, many people think they are a type of cactus.