Cane Cholla (Cylindropuntia spinosior) 3-10 feet high
The Cane Cholla cactus is very abundant in the southeastern corner of Arizona in grasslands, desert scrub and woodlands at elevations from 2,000 to 6,000 feet.
The plant consists of broomstick thick segments about 12 inches long that grow from a central trunk. When the plant dies this trunk often remains as a dry skeleton that looks like a cane or walkingstick. Cholla often grows among grasses and mesquite. Purple flowers appear in the spring. The fruit is a firm, spineless yellow pod containing many tiny seeds. Cane Cholla tolerates colder temperatures than most other chollas.
Segments are easily detached and take root under favorable conditions, forming new plants. Cactus wrens and other desert birds often make their nests in cholla cactus.
Cactus wren in cholla
Teddy Bear Cholla has a fuzzy, lovable appearance which belies its actual prickly nature. It is a cactus that is more sensitive to cold temperatures than the widespread Cane Cholla and is more commonly found in warmer areas of Arizona such as Tucson and Phoenix.
Teddy Bear Cholla, USFWS photo by Gary M. Stolz