Information About Cholla Cactus

Information About Cholla Cactus

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Chain Cholla Information – How To Grow A Chain Cholla Cactus

By Teo Spengler

Those living in warmer climates can start growing chain cholla in their backyards. If you’d like a bit more chain cholla information, we’ll also give you tips on how to grow a chain cholla cactus. Click on the following article to learn more.

Jumping Cholla Care Guide – Learn How To Grow Jumping Cholla Cacti

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

An attractive but rather odd-looking cactus, the teddy bear cholla or jumping cholla is accustomed to desert-like conditions and is suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zone 8 and above. If you can provide what it needs, then this article can help with its care.

Walking Stick Cholla Info: Tips On Caring For Walking Stick Chollas

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Among the varied forms of cactus, walking stick cholla possesses one of the more unique characteristics. Learn how to grow walking stick plants and add this unique specimen to your cactus garden. Click this article for additional information.

Cholla Cactus Care: Tips For Growing Cholla Cactus

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Cholla is a jointed cactus in the Opuntia family, which includes prickly pears. In spite of the barbs, the plant makes an excellent addition to a southwest style garden. In this article, you'll find tips on how to grow a Cholla cactus plant.


Botanic Notables: Teddy-Bear Cholla

Photo by: Anna Laurent, Joshua Tree National Park

With their chocolate-brown stems and fuzzy golden arms, the teddy-bear chollas really do seem friendlier than other desert dwellers. They tend to grow in clustered formations, like small societies in the sand, serving as a bright audience to the sun's rise and fall in the desert sky. If they appear to be waiting for something, it is you—to wander by, graze one of their many arms, and become an unwitting cholla propagator. There are two things to remember about the teddy-bear cholla: first, their segmented branches are eager to detach, travel, and take root second, they are determined hitchhikers.

Similar to other species of cholla cacti, Opuntia bigelovii wear an armor of slender, barbed spines. Their sharp covering is particularly dense, which has the effect of obscuring the stem and shielding it from exposure to intense sunlight. Unlike other cholla, however, the arms are eager to detach from the central stalk—a brief encounter with the tiny barbs is enough to dislodge a fleshy segment. This fragment quickly embeds in any passerby removal is painful and difficult. The cholla hopes to travel as far as it can, hitching a ride, because these easily fragmented stem segments are its preferred method of reproduction.

When finally removed, the detached joint will take root and begin a new colony. And it is a strategy that the teddy-bear cholla has evolved to rely on. While it does develop springtime flowers, the yellow-green blossoms produce fruit whose seeds are usually sterile. And so the vegetative arms are designed to detach so easily that even a strong wind can send the small segments tumbling. Asexually reproducing in this way, these cholla populations can become dense forests, sometimes composed of individuals that are in fact a single clonal plant, all grown from fallen, rooted branches.

As part of the desert ecology, teddy-bear cholla plants are popular nesting sites for birds. Desert pack-rats also collect the fallen cholla arms, carrying them back to their nest sites to build a threatening pile and discourage potential predators.

Opuntia bigelovii grow in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, on valley floors and desert hillsides. Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California also hosts a lovely Cholla Cactus Garden, complete with a quarter-mile walkway through the congregation.

Anna Laurent is a writer and producer of educational botanical media. Her photographs are available for exhibition and purchase at her shop.


Although explorer John C. Fremont famously derided Joshua trees as “the most repulsive tree in the vegetable kingdom,” these grizzled looking plants that reach up to 40 feet-tall can be as beautiful as they are eccentric. You’ll see them growing on mostly level, well-drained areas throughout the park at elevations from 2,000 to 6,000 feet (the Black Rock Canyon area and Queens’s Valley have some of the best stands). Given the right conditions, Joshua trees put out clusters of gorgeous white-green flowers from March into April. Mormon pioneers gave the plant its biblically-inspired name because the trees’ limbs reminded the settlers of Joshua’s upraised arms as he beckoned his followers. To convey the mystical, searching themes of the songs, U2 named its most famous album The Joshua Tree, and although fans come to the park to find the location shown on the cover, the photograph was actually taken elsewhere in the California desert.

Along the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains, this overlook with its sweeping views of the desert near Palm Springs and some of Southern California’s highest peaks is accessible via a short loop trail.


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Spiky on the Outside, As Well as the Inside

As if the sharp spikes were not enough to dissuade you from going near the plant, the spikes of the Cylindropuntia fulgida are hollow and have barbs called glochids. When these indented spines attach themselves to any place or surface with moisture, for example, the skin, the glochids curve once they have made contact, interlocking their spines underneath the surface of the skin. Just the thought of it makes you want to wince in pain and agony.


Watch the video: PHOENIX: Most Dangerous Cactus in Arizona Desert: Jumping Cholla Cactus - The Extreme case