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Staghorn Cholla

Cylindropuntia versicolor

photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in Pima Canyon, Sta. Catalina Mts., Pima Co., Arizona. Feb. 22, 2009.

SUCCULENT: Highly branched woody succulent often exceeding three meters in height.

ARMED. The areoles are set with spines (about 7 and mostly less than 2 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 often tinged purple or reddish and are typically 30 cm in length.

RANGE: This cholla appears commonly in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson and ranges east and south from there - especially in the Chihuahuan Desert.

FLOWERS: As the species name implies, the flower color can vary widely from green, yellow, maroon, orange and red!

FRUIT: Tubercles of fruit are usu. low. Fleshy-looking, yellow-green fruit remain on plant through the winter season. turn yellowish at maturity.

Cholla species frequently form hybrids and so it is not uncommon to find specimens that are difficult to place to species. Many hybrids are named but they are not covered here.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009