Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Cactaceae >>> Cylindropuntia arbuscula

Pencil Cholla

Cylindropuntia arbuscula
Opuntia arbuscula

photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed at Organ Pipe National Monument, Pima Co., Arizona. May 2006.

SUCCULENT: Woody succulent normally about a meter tall with intricate branching pattern. Exceptional specimens can reach over two meters in height supported on a single tree-like stem.

ARMED. The areoles are set with spines (few, about a cm long) and minute glochids.

LEAVES: Leaves are absent except on new spring growth where fleshy leaves appear but are soon shed. The JOINTS are about the diameter and length of a common pencil and have narrow, elongate tubercles.

RANGE: More common towards the southern half of Arizona's Sonoran Desert and hence into Sonora, Mexico. High on wash banks and on rocky bajadas.

FLOWERS: About 30mm in diameter. The numerous petals are yellow, dark red or maroon in color. Stamens are numerous and supported by dark bronze or green filaments.

FRUIT: Oblong fruit turn yellowish at maturity.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

Sponsored Links:

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009