The incredible boojum or cirio tree

Anthony Quartuccio

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Traveling southward from El Rosario, the landscape took on an eerie appearance. The dry washes of the arroyos, the sienna and umber colored hills, and the successive distant mountain ranges gave me the impression that I was entering a “no man’s land.”

Here, it seems, the Baja most people think of begins– a challenging desert, unspoiled, unpopulated, a wilderness land with little rainfall.

One unforgettable feature of this inscrutable landscape is the sight of a rare and bizarre cactus called the “cirio” or “boojum” tree. The name “boojum” came from the weird creatures or things imagined in a book by Lewis Carrol titled, The Hunting of the Snark. The cirios grows only in Baja and parts of Sonora.

The natives call them “cirio” because they look like candles. Actually, they resemble huge carrots covered with a stubble of thorny twig-like branches. The cirio’s tapering body reaches varying heights of 20, 40 or even 60 feet.

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