Plant Fact Sheet: Buckhorn Cholla Cactus

Cholla Bud Video

Identifying Features

Buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) is an open and branching woody cactus. It has gray-green stems, also called "joints", with nodules.  Each nodule has a cluster of stiff spines.  The flowers range from yellow to red with many shades in between. They bloom in April and May.   The fruits are oval shaped, dry, and covered with long barbed spines.


This cholla prefers to grow on well drained sandy desert soils, gravel slopes in the deserts and grass lands. They are also found growing in desert mesas, plains, hillsides and rocky foothills


Elevations up to 4000 feet of the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts.

Life Span

30 years or more.


This cactus will grow to be about 3 feet to 7 feet but it sometimes grows to about 13 feet.

Quick Facts

  • Cholla's are a favorite nesting sites for many birds. They are not so spiny that the birds are in danger, but spiny enough to protect them from many predators.

 ASDM Logo  ©Copyright 2008, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 06-23-2024 cholla.php