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Cylindropuntia echinocarpa facts for kids

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Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa 1.jpg
Scientific classification

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.


Cylindropuntia 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.

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


Silver cholla is a large, tree-like cactus which may exceed 2 m (6.6 ft) in height. Its stems and branches are made up of cylindrical 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 width of the tubercles is less than twice the length, which helps to distinguish it from buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa), which occurs in a similar geographical distribution.

The flowers are usually greenish yellow, sometimes pinkish or brownish in color. The fruit is lumpy, spiny, and tan in color, with white seeds and a foul scent, reminiscent of rancid butter. It measures up to two centimeters long. Very few fruits reach maturity, and many immature fruits can often be seen lying on the ground below. This plant reproduces mainly through seeds, but its tubercles may break off and have a chance of producing new plants through asexual reproduction.

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