Chain Fruit Cholla


Scientific Name:  Cylindropuntia fulgida

Common Name: Chain Fruit Cholla, Jumping Cholla
Family: Cactaceae, Cactus family

Duration: Perennial
Size: To 10 feet tall, but usually less
Growth Form: Tree, Shrub, Cactus. The trunks divaricately branching, the crown much-branched, spreading; STEM segments gray-green, often drying blackish. The stems are very tuberculate (bumpy) and variably spiny, with few to many straw-colored spines.

The flowers are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and have colorful tepals, a pink style, and whitish stigma lobes. The flowers emerge at the tips of the old fruit. The fruit is smooth, green, and proliferating (new fruits grow out of old fruits, forming long, widening fruit chains).

Leaves: The leaves are actually spines, yellowish, sometimes also pale pinkish, aging brown.

Flower Color: Pink, Lavender
Flowering Season: Spring (late), summer

Threatened/Endangered Information: Cylindropuntia fulgida is listed by the State of Arizona as: Salvage Restricted

Comments: The spiny stem segments easily detach from the plant, almost seeming to "jump" on you if you accidentally brush against them. The spines are covered in micro-barbs and can be very difficult to pull out of your skin. Fallen stem segments litter the ground beneath the plants and can take root, forming new plants.