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Arizona Pencil Cholla

Cylindropuntia arbuscula

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Cactus, succulent, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines Yes
Size
In relative feet, width by height
4 × 4
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season April-June
Flower Color Yellow
Minimum Temperature Range 15-20 °F
Leaf Description Spines
Fruit Juicy
Longevity
In years
20
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Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1000-3500 ft.
Ethnobotany Fruits were boiled with saltbush and used for food, calyxes pit roasted with inkweed and dried for future use or eaten fresh, flowers pit roasted and eaten, the young joints boiled and eaten as a vegetable in times of want by the Papago.
Description As the name would suggest, this cholla has very thin stem segments, but can have hundreds of stems on a single individual. Pencil Cholla is generally at least as wide as it is tall, and stem segments are prone to detaching, a potential hazard if planted near a walkway. The dense branching makes for good bird habitat, and from a distance this plant looks almost shrub like. Pencil Cholla will grow best in well draining soils but may be tolerant of clay.