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Cylindropuntia facts for kids

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Cylindropuntia kleiniae.jpg
Cylindropuntia kleiniae
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Cylindropuntieae
Genus: Cylindropuntia
(Engelm.) F.M.Knuth

See text

  • Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) Engelm.
  • Grusonia (Cylindropuntia) (Engelm.) G.D.Rowley

Cylindropuntia is a genus of cacti (family Cactaceae), containing species commonly known as chollas, native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. They are known for their barbed spines that tenaciously attach to skin, fur, and clothing. Stands of cholla are called cholla gardens. Individuals within these colonies often exhibit the same DNA, as they were formerly tubercles of an original plant.


Cylindropuntia was formerly treated as a subgenus of Opuntia, but have now been separated based on their cylindrical stems (Opuntia species have flattened stems) and the presence of papery epidermal sheaths on the spines (Opuntia has no sheaths). A few species of mat- or clump-forming opuntioid cacti are currently placed in the genus Grusonia. Collectively, opuntias, chollas, and related plants are sometimes called opuntiads.

The roughly 35 species of Cylindropuntia are native to the southwestern and south-central United States, Mexico, and the West Indies. The Flora of North America recognizes 22 species. Some species have been introduced to South America (Chile, Ecuador, Peru) and South Africa.


As of July 2019, Plants of the World Online accepts the following species:

Scientific name Common name Picture
Cylindropuntia abyssi (Hester) Backeb. Peach Springs cholla
Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow Buckhorn cholla Buckhorn Cholla.JPG
Cylindropuntia alcahes (F.A.C. Weber) F.M. Knuth Clavellina cholla Cylindropuntia alcahes (5770190459).jpg
Cylindropuntia anteojoensis (Pinkava) E.F. Anderson
Cylindropuntia arbuscula (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth Arizona pencil cholla Cylindropuntia arbuscula 1.jpg
Cylindropuntia bigelovii (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth Teddy-bear cholla Cylindropuntia bigelovii.jpg
Cylindropuntia californica (Torr. & A.Gray) F.M.Knuth California cholla
Snake cholla
Cane cholla
Cylindropuntia californica 1.jpg
Cylindropuntia calmalliana (J.M.Coult.) F.M.Knuth
Cylindropuntia caribaea (Britton & Rose) F.M. Knuth Cylindropuntia caribaea.jpg
Cylindropuntia cedrosensis Rebman
Cylindropuntia cholla (F.A.C. Weber) F.M. Knuth Chain-link cholla Starr 070402-6304 Cylindropuntia cholla.jpg
Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis M.A.Baker & Cloud-H.
Cylindropuntia ciribe (Engelm. ex J.M.Coult.) F.M.Knuth
Cylindropuntia davisii (Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow) F.M. Knuth
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa (Engelm. & Bigelow) F.M.Knuth Silver cholla
Golden cholla
Wiggins' cholla
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa 1.jpg
Cylindropuntia fosbergii (C.B. Wolf) Rebman, M.A. Baker & Pinkava Hoffmann's teddybear cholla
Pink teddy-bear cholla
Mason Valley cholla
Cylindropuntia fosbergii.jpg
Cylindropuntia fulgida Engelm. Jumping cholla
Hanging chain cholla
Opuntia fulgida 1 - Desert Botanical Garden.jpg
Cylindropuntia ganderi (C.B. Wolf) Rebman & Pinkav Gander cholla
Gander's buckhorn cholla
Cylindropuntia ganderi.jpg
Cylindropuntia hystrix (Griseb.) Areces Cylindropuntia.hystrix.7684.jpg
Cylindropuntia imbricata Haw. (DC.) Cane cholla
Walking stick cholla
Tree cholla
Cylindropuntia spinosior, July Albuquerque.jpg
Cylindropuntia kleiniae (DC.) F.M. Knuth Cylindropuntia kleiniae 2.jpg
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis F.M.Knuth Desert Christmas cholla
Cylindropuntia libertadensis Rebman
Cylindropuntia lindsayi (Rebman) Rebman
Cylindropuntia molesta (Brandegee) F.M.Knuth Agujilla Cylindropuntia molesta (Opuntia molesta) - Botanischer Garten, Dresden, Germany - DSC08871.JPG
Cylindropuntia multigeniculata (Clokey) Backeb.
Cylindropuntia munzii (C.B. Wolf) Backeb. J20151008-0015—Cylindropuntia munzii—RPBG (21959799440).jpg
Cylindropuntia prolifera (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth Coastal cholla Cylindropuntia prolifera 1.jpg
Cylindropuntia ramosissima (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth Branched pencil cholla
Diamond cholla
Cylindropuntia ramosissima 2.jpg
Cylindropuntia rosea (DC.) Backeb. Cylindropuntia rosea Eze.jpg
Cylindropuntia sanfelipensis (Rebman) Rebman
Cylindropuntia santamaria (E.M. Baxter) Rebman
Cylindropuntia spinosior (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth Tasajo cholla Cylindropuntia spinosior.jpg
Cylindropuntia tesajo (Engelm. ex J.M. Coult.) F.M. Knuth Cylindropuntia tesajo.jpg
Cylindropuntia thurberi (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth
Cylindropuntia tunicata (Lehm.) F.M.Knuth Sheathed cholla Cylindropuntia tunicata (5716858940).jpg
Cylindropuntia versicolor (Engelm. ex J.M. Coult.) F.M. Knuth Staghorn cholla CHOLLA, STAGHORN (Cylindropuntia versicolor) (5-10-11) 78 circulo montana, patagonia lake ranch estates, scc, az -01 (5707960497).jpg
Cylindropuntia waltoniorum Rebman
Cylindropuntia whipplei (Engelm. & J.M.Bigelow) F.M.Knuth Rat-tail cholla Cylindropuntia whipplei frs 2005-10-12.jpg
Cylindropuntia wolfii (L.D. Benson) J. Rebman – unplaced name Wolf's cholla Cylindropuntia wolfii (4471720355).jpg


Some hybrids are also known:

  • Cylindropuntia × antoniae P.V.Heath
  • Cylindropuntia × campii (M.A.Baker & Pinkava) M.A.Baker & Pinkava
  • Cylindropuntia × cardenche (Griffiths) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × congesta (Griffiths) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × deserta (Griffiths) Pinkava
  • Cylindropuntia × grantiorum P.V.Heath
  • Cylindropuntia × kelvinensis (V.E.Grant & K.A.Grant) P.V.Heath
  • Cylindropuntia × neoarbuscula (Griffiths) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × pallida (Rose) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × tetracantha (Toumey) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × viridiflora (Britton & Rose) F.M.Knuth
  • Cylindropuntia × vivipara (Rose) F.M.Knuth
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