People who have nightmares about being chased by giant parsnips should avoid contact with the boojum trees. Fortunately, boojums are quite rare and do not move over the landscape to frighten humans. Despite that, they are weird. They resemble huge parsnips or green carrots sticking upside down out of the earth. They don’t have branches like most trees; instead they have stick-like appendages that look like carrot roots. Or something similar.
They’re relatives of the ocotillo plants that grow wild all over Arizona. The name comes from the mythical Boojum featured in Lewis Carroll’s book, “The Hunting of the Snark.” But legend says the name was attached when an explorer in Mexico first saw one and declared that’s what a boojum tree should look like, so he called it that.
The boojums are native to only two sites, both in Mexico. But those whose lives will not be complete until they see some will find a few at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.