kids encyclopedia robot

Desert Christmas cactus facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Desert Christmas cactus
Cylindropuntialeptocaulis.jpg
Scientific classification
Genus:
Cylindropuntia
Species:
leptocaulis
Synonyms

Opuntia leptocaulis DC.
Opuntia frutescens Engelm.

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, the desert Christmas cactus, desert Christmas cholla, pencil cactus, or tasajillo, is a species of cholla cactus.

Distribution

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis is widely distributed in deserts, grasslands, chaparral, and woodlands in the Southwestern United States and several states in Northern Mexico.

Description

The shrubby Cylindropuntia leptocaulis plants reach .5 to 1.8 m (1.6 to 5.9 ft) tall, reaching the extreme height when supported within desert trees. Branches are narrow, 3–5 mm across. Spines 0-1 (occasionally as many as 3) at each areole. Flowers open in the late afternoon and are pale yellow or greenish yellow, with occasional red tips.

Around December, the plant grows red berries that when consumed, can have an intoxicating effect. The fruits are crushed and mixed with a beverage by the Apache, Chiricahua, and Mescalero to produce narcotic effects.

Gallery

kids search engine
Desert Christmas cactus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.