Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. major

Common Name: Buckhorn Cholla
Oˊodham Name: Hanam    Audio
Group: Cacti - Desert

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. major is a sparsely-branched cholla cactus found in sandy and gravelly soils on desert hillsides and alluvial fans in south central Arizona at 500 to 3500 ft elevation. Flowers are produced in late April or May and can be yellow or red. The fruit are spiny.

Chollas are an important and highly nutritional traditional food source. Baked, dried buds of C. acanthocarpa have moderate amounts of iron, but high amounts of calcium (Greenhouse 1979). A 100-gram serving, or approximately 50 freshly baked buds, provides 1.4 milligrams of iron and 650 milligrams of calcium. This is equivalent to 14 percent of the recommended iron allowance and 81 percent of the recommended calcium allowance for adult males.

entire plant
entire plant
young plant
stem (Spring)
stem (Summer)

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 acanthocarpa (Engelm. & Bigelow) F.M. Knuth - buck-horn cholla
Variety Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa (Engelm. & Bigelow) F.M. Knuth var. major (Engelm. & Bigelow) Pinkava - buckhorn cholla
More Information
USDA Plant Profile and Map
Greenhouse, R. 1979. The iron and calcium content of some traditional Pima foods and the effects of preparation methods. M.S. thesis, Arizona State University, Tempe.

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