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Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa (Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow) F.M. Knuth var. acanthocarpa

Buckhorn Cholla, Staghorn Cholla

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Synonym(s): Opuntia acanthocarpa, Opuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Buckhorn cholla or staghorn cholla is a spreading to erect, tree-like cactus, 3-9 ft. tall. The main trunk is short; branching open. Branches are cylindrical; the joints light green. Stout spines are straw colored. Flowers are red to yellow and followed by a shriveled, spiny fruit.

The Buckhorn Cholla is often found growing in the same range as the Silver Cholla, and sometimes it is not easy to tell them apart. The Silver Cholla usually has one main trunk and a tubercle length one to two times the width. The Buckhorn Cholla usually has serveral small trunks and tubercle length three to several times the width. The Buckhorn Cholla is often quite shrubby, but some plants are treelike and reach up to 13 feet tall. The flower buds are sometimes steamed and used as food by the Pima Indians. Up to five varieties of Buckhorn Cholla have been described. The delicate flowers bloom from May to June.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AZ , CA , NV , UT
Native Distribution: S. CA, s. NV, AZ & extreme s.w. UT
Native Habitat: Open areas to 3500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa


Record Modified: 2018-08-13
Research By: TWC Staff

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