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Buckhorn Cholla

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa
(Opuntia acanthocarpa)

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Shaw Butte, Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona. June 18, 2002

The flower color is variable, from yellow to orange/red. Also visible in this photo hosted at Wikimedia are fleshy, spike-shaped leaves on the new shoot. These tender leaves are edible and tasty! They whither and are shed by the plant within a month or so. Observed at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., AZ.

JOINTS: The stems are succulent and formed into cylindrical joints mostly less than 30 cm long and 2 to 5 cm in diameter. The tubercles on the joints are conspicuously raised and elongate.

FRUIT: mature fruit turns dry and brown.

RANGE: a frequent cholla throughout the deserts of southwestern Arizona.

SHRUB: Normally a shrub rarely over 2 m tall. Occasionally with a distinct central trunk.

FLOWERS: Numerous petals are variable in color ranging red, yellow or purplish.

SPINES: Up to two dozen per ariole, 30 mm long, silvery or tan but turning black with age.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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This salmon colored bloom was observed in the Estrella Mountain Wilderness on 19 Apr. 2009.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009