Arizona Wild Flowers
Wildflower Pictures And Photos

Christmas Cholla, Opuntia leptocaulis

Opuntia leptocaulis
Christmas Cholla, Opuntia leptocaulis
Christmas Cholla FlowerChristmas Cholla Fruit
Christmas Cholla FlowerChristmas Cholla Fruit

Christmas Cholla Cactus
Opuntia leptocaulis, Cactus Family ( Cactaceae ), Christmas Cholla Cactus. Also called Tsejo, Pencil Joint Cholla, Holycross Cholla, Diamond Cactus, and Darning Needle Cactus.

The Christmas Cholla commonly grows to 2' but will grow taller within other shrubs. Stem joints are only about 1/8" thick (smaller than pencil cholla). Each areole only has one long (2") spine.

This spiny cactus often lives within other shrubs, blending in. The flowers are beautiful but only bloom during the late afternoon.

This upright, shrub-like plant has many branches made up of slender, cylindrical joints. These narrow, spiny branches often twist together with the branches of adjacent plants to form inpenetrable thickets. New growth is dark green. With age the branches and trunk develop a scaly bark and turn pale tan. Small, attractive, yellowish-green flowers are followed by bright red fruits which cling to the stem into winter.

Height: Up To About 2' but it sometimes grows within the protection of the stems and leaves of other plants up to 3', so it can be hidden.
Flowers: Light yellow to yellow-green in color. The flowers are about 1/2 inches in diameter.
Blooming Time: May - June. Blossems only open in early afternoon and close at night.
Jointed Stalks: Shrub-like plant has many branches made up of slender, cylindrical joints. The stems are 2 to 6 inches long, less than inch in diameter.
Trunk: Small 1" To 2" dark green trunk develops with age a scaly bark and turns pale brown. Fruit: Small fruit is bright red and stays on plant through the winter.
Thorns: One long gray or light brown spine up to 2 inches long grows from each small cluster of reddish bristles or areole.
Found: Lower Elevations of the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. southeastern California, and . Also Sonora, Mexico. On sandy desert, and gravel slopes in the deserts and grass lands.
Elevation: 0 - 5000 Feet.
Habitat: On mesas, flats, valleys & washes in deserts. From Arizona to Oklahoma and from Texas to Mexico.
Miscellaneous: Photos Taken May 12, 2005. Near Cave Creek

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Images And Text Copyright George & Audrey DeLange.