Tree Cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata var. imbricata)
Description: Tree cholla grows tall and upright, sometimes bushy but usually treelike, 3-8 ft. in height. The main trunk in round and can reach 3-4 in. in diameter with age. The spiny stems are jointed and cylindrical. Large, showy flowers open out wide and are reddish-purple in color. Fruits ripen from green to rose to yellow.
This is the first bush-like or tree-like Cholla (pronounced CHOY-yah) encountered when traveling from the East to the Southwest. Near the Rio Grande other species appear, and in Arizona there are many, making identification more difficult. Once the flesh has weathered away, their woody stems are hollow, with many holes, and are popular souvenirs.
Synonym(s): Cane cactus, Cholla, Teddy-bear cholla, Tree cholla, Walkingstick cholla, Cereus imbricatus, Opuntia arborescens, Opuntia imbricata, Opuntia imbricata var. arborescens, Opuntia imbricata var. imbricata, Opuntia imbricata var. vexans
USDA Symbol: CYIMI
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom Color: Red, Pink
Bloom Time: May, Jun
Water Use: Low
Light Requirements: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Bloom Notes: Pronounced choy-ya. Slow grower but eventually gets shrubby or tree-shaped. Woody stems appear braided and the yellow fruit are showy. Dead stems have interesting skeletons once the soft tissue has decomposed away. These are often used as souvenirs. Provide good drainage. Caution: has sharp spines.
Missing Images: Plant, Close-Up, Fruit-Seed
Data Completeness: Complete