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Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)

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Scientific Name

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Haw.) F.M.Knuth

Common Names

Tree Cholla, Giant Tree Cholla, Cane Cholla, Walking Stick Cholla, Candelabrum Cactus, Chainlink Cactus, Devil's Rope Cactus, Coyote Prickly Pear

Synonyms

Cylindropuntia imbricata subsp. imbricata, Opuntia imbricata (basionym), Cylindropuntia cardenche, Cylindropuntia lloydii, Cylindropuntia x cardenche, Opuntia cardenche, Opuntia lloydii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Cylindropuntieae
Genus: Cylindropuntia

Description

Cylindropuntia imbricata is a tree-like cactus, up to 10 feet (3 m) tall, with a short, woody trunk and a number of upright, candelabra-like branches. It has fairly, short, white or light brown spines, 10 to 30 per areole, that allow the green stem color, purplish in times of cold weather, to be clearly visible. The attractive, violet flowers are followed by knobbly, orange fruits that stay attached to the plant for many months.

Photo via plants.usda.gov

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 4a to 11b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Though the large variety of species within the Opuntia genus means different types of Prickly Pears may need slightly different care. All are desert cacti that need lots of sun, lots of light and very little water. If you live in a hot, arid area, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.

These cacti will grow just fine in a garden, bu they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, then remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the cactus in a new pot and backfill it with potting soil. As with a new cutting, make sure not to water a newly repotting Prickly Pear for a brief period to avoid rotting its roots.

Opuntia can propagate either by cuttings or by seed. To propagate by cuttings, sever pads from a plant and let them dry so that the wounds heal. Then place the plants in a dry soil and refrain from watering them until they begin to grow to avoid rotting them.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.

Origin

Cylindropuntia fulgida is found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

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