Golden Cholla
Silver Cholla

Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
(Opuntia echinocarpa)

Photo © left by Michael Plagens

Photographed near the Imperial Dunes in southeastern California 2006.

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RANGE: A cholla of far western areas of the Sonoran Desert into the Mojave Desert.

SPINES: Densely spiny and glistening either silver or golden color. Old prospectors would have learned to avoid these golden silver cacti.

JOINTS: The stems are succulent and formed into cylindrical joints mostly less than 12 cm long and 2½ cm in diameter. The tubercles on the joints are conspicuously raised and elongate.

FRUIT: mature fruit is dry and bears many spines. They do not form chains.

SHRUB: Normally a single-trunked cactus, but intricately branching above. Exceptional specimens reaching 3 meters.

FLOWERS: Numerous petals are yellow-green.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

More Information:

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 16 Oct. 2007