Chain Fruit Cholla
Hikers soon learn not no even walk in the vicinity of this plant. There are often many spiny stem joints on the ground that will latch onto a loose cuff or shoelace. This specimen was observed in the Goldfield Mountains.
Each nearly spherical fruit represents another year in the growth of the chains. The fruits apparently do not contain fertile seeds and so do not ripen. Photographed at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument; the image is also shared at the Wikimedia Commons.
FRUIT: A curious feature of the fruit will readily identify this
species. Most of the fruits do not ripen. Instead they remain on the plant and
then a new flower and fruit develops upon the old fruit the next year. This may
continue for many years producing pendulant chains of nearly spherical green
Crematogaster ants can often be seen patrolling the surfaces of a Jumping Cholla. In essence the cactus hires the ant to ward of plant eaters of all kinds. The pay is sweet exudate from the areoles. These ants are also known as Acrobat Ants.
Cactaceae -- Cactus Family
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