Cylindropuntia echinocarpa

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Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
File:Cylindropuntia echinocarpa 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Cylindropuntia
Species: C. echinocarpa
Binomial name
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
(Engelm. & Bigelow) F.M.Knuth

Opuntia echinocarpa — Engelm. & Bigelow
Opuntia wigginsii

Cylindropuntia echinocarpa is a species of cactus known by the common names silver cholla, golden cholla, and Wiggins' cholla. It was formerly named Opuntia echinocarpa. [1]


C. echinocarpa is native to the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, where it can be found the Sonoran Desert, the Mojave Desert, and Colorado Desert in California and other states. [1]

It commonly occurs in desert dry wash, creosote bush scrub, Joshua tree woodland, and Pinyon-juniper woodland communities.[2] It ranges from Mono County to Baja California.[2]


Silver cholla is a large, tree-like cactus known to exceed 2 m (6.6 ft) in height. Its stem and branches are made up of cylindrical segments, the surface arranged in green tubercles (segments) up to 1.5 cm wide and just under 1.0 cm tall. The fleshy tubercles each bear up to 20 long, straight, grayish or yellowish spines which may be nearly 4 cm long. The tubercles are less than twice the length, which helps distinguish it from Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa]]).[2]

The flower is usually greenish yellow, sometimes pinkish[citation needed] or brownish[citation needed] in color.

There is a bumpy, spiny tan[citation needed] fruit is up to two centimeters long and has a foul scent[2] reminiscent of rancid butter[citation needed]. Very few fruits reach maturity, and many immature fruits can often be seen lying on the ground below.[2]

The fruits have white seeds.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 USDA: Cylindropuntia echinocarpa . accessed 3.23.2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Mojave Desert Wildflowers, Pam MacKay, 2nd ed., p 223, 266

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