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Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree cholla)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Cylindropuntia imbricata

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Haw.) F.M. Knuth

Tree Cholla, Walking Stick Cholla, Cholla

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)


USDA Symbol: CYIM2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Cylindropuntia imbricata, Tree Cholla, is found in a wide range of environments, from the hot deserts of west Texas to the Colorado mountains above 6,000 feet. It has stout, quite thick branches, bearing fairly short white or light brown spines, 10 to 30 per areole (occasionally fewer), that allow the green stem color (purplish in times of cold weather) to be clearly visible, and the plant reaches heights of 8 feet, with most stems quite high above the ground, supported by a strong central trunk.

The attractive violet flowers are followed by knobbly orange fruits that stay attached to the plant for many months. Spines grow from elongated tubercles, which help differentiate the plant from similar species in its range, principally the cane cholla.

Description provided courtesy of The American Southwest.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Usually up to about 8 feet tall. Sometimes up to about 15 feet tall.
Flower: Pink, violet.
Fruit: Orange fruits stay attached to the plant for many months.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CO , KS , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: South Colorado, all across New Mexico, west Texas, far southeast Arizona, west Oklahoma, west Kansas.
Native Habitat: Varied; grassland, scrubland, woodland, hillsides.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 15 - The American Southwest (1994) John Crossley

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-14
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