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Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus – Spruce Cone Cholla


Scientific Name

Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus (Lem.) Backeb.

Common Names

Spruce Cone Cholla, Spruce Cone Cactus, Paper Spine Cactus, Paper Spined Cholla, Pine Cone Cactus


Opuntia diademata, Tephrocactus diademata

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Tephrocacteae
Genus: Tephrocactus


Tephrocactus articulatus var. diadematus is a very unique cactus, usually up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall, with fragile erect stems composed of cylindrical segments that resemble pine cones. Prominent tubercules and clusters of silvery spines are spirally arranged along the segments. Some forms lack spines. The stems fragment readily if jostled or bumped. A shy bloomer, this cactus sometimes produces white to pinkish, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter, cup-shaped flowers in spring or early summer. The fruits that follow are barrel shaped, dry-fleshed, and very thin walled.

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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 – particularly the American Southwest – these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed. Though Opuntia will grow just fine in a garden, 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 prickly pear 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.


Native to western Argentina.


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