While the Spanish word mogote can mean “knoll” or “hummock,” in south Texas it refers specifically to patches of impenetrable thorny brush growing in clay-loam soils mainly along the coastal prairies, and especially in Cameron and Willacy Counties. (The Spanish use of mogote for knoll is found on the American landscape at the western edge of the San Luis Valley in Colorado—Los Mogotes.) Mogotes serve as ideal bird-nesting areas and are the primary habitat for endangered ocelots and jaguarundi. A small patch of this ultrathick brush is called a mogotito. Occasionally, the word is used to describe a stack of corn. In A Vaquero of the Brush Country, John D. Young and J. Frank Dobie write: “Here are mogotes (thick patches) of the evergreen, stubborn, beautiful coma with dirk-like thorns, and, in season, with blue berries which the Mexican dove likes so much that it constantly coos—if we are to believe the Mexican folk—comer comas, comer comas, saying that it wants to eat coma berries.”

Arturo Longoria