Cylindropuntia versicolor

Common Name: Staghorn Cholla
Oˊodham Name: Ceolim    Audio
Group: Cacti - Desert

Cylindropuntia versicolor is a cholla cactus having thick branches and less branching than Cylindropuntia spinosior. It grows in sandy and gravelly soils of desert hillsides and alluvial fans at 1000 to 4000 ft elevation. The species name refers to the stems which rang in color from gray through green and purple, and the flowers which range from yellow to orange, red, and magenta. Fruit are smooth and usually contain sterile seeds.

Chollas are an important and highly nutritional traditional food source. Cholla buds are rich in calcium as well as soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar. The buds of the flowers are the most commonly eaten, however the fruit and joints are also edible. Cholla buds can be collected in March and April and can be roasted, boiled, and sun-dried for storage.

entire plant
entire plant
flower buds

Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass Caryophyllidae
Order Caryophyllales
Family Cactaceae - Cactus family
Genus Cylindropuntia (Engelm.) Kreuzinger - cholla
Species Cylindropuntia versicolor (Engelm. ex J.M. Coult.) F.M. Knuth - staghorn cholla
More Information
USDA Plant Profile and Map

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