Virginia Tech Dendrology

chain cholla Cactaceae Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth Listen to the Latin symbol: CYFU10
Leaf: Reduced to a spine, young branches are covered with 1/2 to 1 inch silvery-yellow spines, darkening with age, slower growing or older branches with sparse, shorter spines.
Flower: Pink, one inch, displayed at the joint tips (or old fruit tips), mid-summer.
Fruit: Generally sterile, pear-shaped to nearly round, wrinkled with a few spines, fleshy and green, 1 1/2 inch long, often producing flowers the following year which will result in a distinctive chain of fruits.
Twig: Segmented, each segment blue-green or yellow-green, to 5 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
Bark: Brown-black, becoming rough and scaly.
Form: Generally upright segmented cactus with one low-branching trunk, to 12 feet, with drooping branches of chained fruit.
Looks like: Teddy bear cholla - buckhorn cholla - tree cholla - cane cholla
leaf fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Cylindropuntia fulgida is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting chain cholla.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson