Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Presented in Association with the
Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis (A.P. de Candolle) F.M. Knuth
(Christmas Cholla, Desert Christmas Cactus)

Family: Cactaceae

Status: Native

Opuntia leptocaulis A.P. de Candolle

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis is a cactus of low elevation desert arroyos. It is easy to miss this cactus, as it frequently grows at the base of larger shrubs or mixed with grasses. The foliage is pencil-thick and frequently purple-green or streaked with purple. The flower is bright yellow and it develops into a bright red fruit.
Please click on an image for a larger file.

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, photo Russ Kleinman, Burro Mtns., WD Ranch Road, Mar. 14, 2006

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, another view, photo Russ Kleinman, Burro Mtns., WD Ranch Road

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, closeup, photo Russ Kleinman, Burro Mtns., WD Ranch Road, Nov. 25, 2008

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, closeup of flower, photo Elroy Limmer, Silver City-- photo of a plant flowering after being transplanted to a pot, June 11, 2009

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, closeup of fruit, photo Russ Kleinman, Mel Moe, Richard Felger, Leith Young, & Charles Holmes, Peloncillo Mtns. near Rodeo, March 12, 2010

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