Buckhorn Cholla

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Buckhorn cholla and Staghorn cholla have a similar appearance, and often hybridize with each other. Both species have variable flower color, mainly red or yellow, but can also be orange, pink, purple, green or brown. The best way to distinguish the two is by observing the fruits:

  • Buckhorn cholla has dry, spiny, tuberculate (rounded protrusions) fruits that fall off after several months
  • Staghorng cholla fruits are fleshy, usually spineless, ad persist on the plant for more than a year

Chollas are a favorite nesting site for some desert birds because the spines offer them protection from predators.

Flowers: J F M A M J J A S O N D
Status: Native
Origin: Sonoran and Mojave deserts up to 4,000′
Family: Cactaceae
Size: 3′ – 7′, but sometimes up to 13′
Sun: Full
Watering: None once established
Growth Rate: Moderate
Soil: Tolerant
Temperature: Hardy to 10 F
Disease and Pests:
Uses: Fruit for wildlife, nectar, bird nesting habitat


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