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Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida (Jumping cholla)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida

Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth var. fulgida

Jumping Cholla, Chain-fruit Cholla

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

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


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 one's 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.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Fruit Type: Berry

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
Bloom Notes: Pale pink to magenta.


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 Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes

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

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1995 VOL. 12, NO.3 - Explore the Big Bend With the Wildflower Center, Education Director\'s Report, T...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2021-09-29
Research By: TWC Staff

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