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Teddy Bear Cholla
Jumping Cholla

Cylindropuntia bigelovii
(Opuntia bigelovii)


Clone of Cylindropuntia bigelovii photo © by Michael Plagens.

This clonal group of teddy bear chollas near Vulture Peak, south of Wickenburg, Arizona, are likely all decendent from pieces that had broken off from an original parent plant.

Photo © by Michael Plagens

SPINES: Densely covered with long, glistening, sharply barbed spines that mostly obscure the stem. Probably the inspiration for the bumper sticker: "Have you hugged your cactus today?"

JOINTS/STEMS: The joints readily break off and will often root to form a new plant. Also called Jumping Cactus because these detached joints so readily catch in clothing or skin. About 20 cm long and 3 cm in diameter.

TRUNK: Usually grows from one distinct trunk but with a compact form less than 1.5 m tall.

TUBERCLES: Stems and fruit both have prominent ovoid tubercles.

FLOWERS: greenish yellow; sometimes with a bit of lavender or red.

FRUIT: green or yellow often without viable seed. See a detail image of fruit on Page 2.

RANGE: common to abundant nearly throughout the Sonoran Desert. Grows either on rocky slopes or else sometimes forming dense stands on sandy soils. Vast forests of this cholla occur near Puerto Peñasco on the shores of the Gulf of California.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009