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Cylindropuntia versicolor

Cylindropuntia versicolor (Engelm. ex J.M. Coult.) F.M. Knuth

Opuntia versicolor Engelm. ex J.M. Coult.

Staghorn Cholla, Morada Cholla

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusCylindropuntia
Speciesversicolor

About plant names...

Staghorn cholla (pronounced “koy-ya”) is found in the Sonoran Desert. Cylindropuntia means “cylindrical opuntia,” that is, cacti associated with the prickly pear family, but with round stem segments instead of Mickey Mouse ears. Versicolor refers to the astounding range of flower colors.

Identification: May appear in shrublike or treelike forms, branching profusely, reaching 6½' (2 m) in height. The stem segments greenish purple to purple, and 1½-7" (4-18 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) around. Tubercules (ropy bumps on stems) are 3 to 5 times longer than they are wide. There are 7-10 spines per group, ¼-⅝" (6.3-15 mm) long, reddish in color. Flowers may be yellowish green, yellow, bronze, red, rose, or magenta. Fruits are fleshy, with few or no spines, ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) around.

Staghorn cholla is similar to buckthorn cholla:

 

Cylindropuntia versicolor (Staghorn Cholla, Morada Cholla)

7/7/2017 · By US NPS photo

 
Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa
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Cylindropuntia versicolor
Common Name

Buckhorn Cholla

Staghorn Cholla
Plant 3-13' (1-4 m) high, shrublike or treelike. Tree- or shrublike, to 6½' (2 m) tall.
Flowers Colored red, brick red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, pink, or bronze; up to 2" (5.7 cm) around. Up to 3" (7.6 cm) around. Yellowish green, yellow, bronze, red, rose, or magenta.
Stem Segments green or purple, 4-20" (10-50 cm) long and ¾-1" (2-3 cm) around. Spines are in groups of 6-20 or more, white to gray, tipped with yellow, ⅝-1¼" (1.6-3.2 cm) long. Stem segments greenish purple to purple, 1½-7" (4-18 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) around. Tubercules (ropy bumps on stems) are 3 to 5 times longer than they are wide. 7-10 spines per group, ¼-⅝" (6.3-15 mm) long, reddish.
Fruit Tan, about ⅛" (3.2 mm) around, deeply wrinkled, usually covered with long spines. Fleshy, with few or no spines, ¾-1½" (2-4 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm) around.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 9-11

Type Wild Wild

 

Cylindropuntia versicolor (Staghorn Cholla, Morada Cholla)

The “chained” fruits are at top, center. A stem segment is at top, right. Remaining images are flowering joints. Britton, Nathaniel Lord, Rose, J. N., The Cactaceae: Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family, Press of Gibson Brothers, 1919, p. Vol. I, Plate IX, Vol. I, Plate IX.

Online References:

Cylindropuntia versicolor at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Cylindropuntia versicolor as Compiled by the Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension

Cylindropuntia versicolor on Desert-tropicals.com

Cylindropuntia versicolor at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Sonoran Desert Digital Library

Cylindropuntia versicolor on Opuntiads of the USA

Cylindropuntia versicolor on Tucson-Gardener.com

Cylindropuntia versicolor at the Tohono O’odham Community College TOCC Plant Atlas

Cylindropuntia versicolor on eFloras

References:

Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 214

Cylindropuntia versicolor description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Range:

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