AZ Arboretums

Opuntia arbuscula

Pencil cholla

Common: Pencil cholla
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Sonoran and Mohave Deserts. Gravelly and sandy plains, valleys and washes, 1,000 to 3,000 feet elevation.

Shrubby to 5 feet. Green, nearly smooth joints, to 6 inches long.

Reddish or tan straight spines, up to four per cluster. Green joints, nearly smooth, to 6 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter.

Yellow, greenish or brownish red flowers to 1 inch long and 5/8 inch wide. Flowers followed by green fruit tinged with purple or red, smooth, spineless and elongated.

Fruit to 1-1/2 inches long, lasting throughout winter.

Blooms May through June.

Twenty eight species of Opuntia in Arizona.