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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida
Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth var. fulgida
Synonym(s): Opuntia fulgida, Opuntia fulgida var. fulgida
USDA Symbol: CYFUF
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A very spiny cactus, commonly a shrub, occasionally a small tree with short trunk. The stout, jointed, cylindrical, irregular spreading to slightly drooping branches are leafless except when young.
The common name Cholla (pronounced CHAW-ya or CHO-ya), meaning skull or head in Spanish, is applied to various shrubby cacti with jointed branches, of which this species is the largest. Its segments or joints, easily detached by touching, adhere to clothing and skin. They are fancifully said to jump out and attack passersby, especially when ones back is turned, as the common name implies. The dead, weathered, woody skeletons of the stems, forming hollow cylinders with many holes, are used in making novelties. Fruit and seeds of cacti are consumed in great quantities by wildlife of many kinds, especially rodents. Detached branches will root and start new plants, spreading on some rangelands.
Bloom InformationBloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
, NM Native Distribution:
Central and S. Arizona and NW. Mexico; to 4000 (1219 m). Native Habitat:
Dry, sandy soils of valleys, plains, and slopes, forming dense cactus forests in deserts.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff