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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - April 26, 2013

From: DeKalb, IL
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Identification of Wood from Frying Pan Ranch Near Amarillo, TX (possibly Cholla)
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I'm doing research for a museum exhibition and have been told the "holey" piece of wood from The Frying Pan Ranch near Amarillo Texas is "chollya" but I can find no information. Can you help?

ANSWER:

There is a good chance that the piece of wood you have is from Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree cholla). The USDA Plant Profile shows this plant is native to several counties in the Texas panhandle so cholla (pronounced "chollya") would have been available to early settlers.

As this image shows, "holey" is a good word to describe the dried wood (those holes are technically called "areoles"). The dried stems were fequently used as walking canes.

 

From the Image Gallery


Tree cholla
Cylindropuntia imbricata

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