AZ Arboretums

Opuntia echinocarpa

Silver cholla

Common: Silver cholla, golden cholla
Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Southwestern Utah, southern and western Arizona, southeastern California, and Sonora and Baja California, Mexico. Flats, slopes and washes, 1000 to 4000 ft. elevation.

Naturalizes the landscape. Can be used as a specimen or in groups. Makes a nice contrast with green plants. Give enough distance from high circulation areas when planting.

Bushy, with a woody trunk and densely branched crown to 3-4 feet in height and a little wider. Green, cylindrical joints with conspicuous tubercles to 3/8" long. Joints generally 6" long, 1-1/2" wide.

Spines are silvery or golden and very dense, 3 to 12 per areole, straight, and pointing in all directions. They are narrow, tapering from base, to 1-1/2" long.

Flowers are greenish yellow, four inches long and to 1" wide. Outer parts are streaked with red. Flowers are followed by green, egg-shaped fruit with spines on upper half, to 1-1/4" long, turning light tan at maturity. Blooms March-April.

28 species of Opuntia in Arizona.