When driving around the lush resorts and golf courses of Palm Desert, it is easy to forget most of the Coachella Valley is a barren desert. Although 100,000 acres support irrigated agriculture, much of the land is dusty and rocky interspersed with creosote bush and saltbrush scrub. During a wet spring, however, something magical happens: dormant plants bloom. These are the crimson flowers of an ocotillo. Their scientific name is fouquieria splendens. They are more commonly called a candlewood, coachwhip or Jacob’s staff.