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Cylindropuntia kleiniae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Cylindropuntieae
Genus: Cylindropuntia
(Engelm.) F.M.Knuth

Numerous, see text

Cane Cactus, in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Cylindropuntia is a genus of cacti (family Cactaceae), containing the cholla.


Cholla are native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Cholla are known for their barbed spines that tenaciously attach to skin, fur, and clothing.

Stands of cholla are called 'cholla gardens' or 'cholla forests'. Individuals within these colonies often exhibit the same DNA as they were formerly tubercles of an original plant.


Cholla were formerly treated as a subgenus of Opuntia but have now been separated based on their cylindrical stems ('Opuntia' have flattened stems) and the presence of papery epidermal sheaths on the spines ('Opuntia' have no sheaths).[1] A few species of mat or clump forming opuntioid cacti are currently placed in the genus Grusonia.

There are about 35 species of Cylindropuntia native to the southwest and south central United States, Mexico and the West Indies, "The Flora of North America" recognizes 22 species. Some species have been introduced to South America (Chile, Ecuador, Peru) and South Africa.[2]

Selected species[edit]


  1. ^ Pinkava, D. J. 1999. Cactaceae cactus family: Part 3. Cylindropuntia… J. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. 32: 32-47.
  2. ^ Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.