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Opuntia bigelovii

Teddy Bear Cactus (Cholla)
Cactaceae
Cacti and succulents

OPUNTIA

The species described here originate in the desert Southwest and Mexico; other species are native to those areas and/or other parts of the western U.S., the Great Plains, Canada, and Florida. Most species fall into one of two sorts: those having flat, broad joints (pads), and those having cylindrical joints. Though the use of common names is somewhat inconsistent, members of the first group are often called prickly pear; those in the second group are frequently known as cholla. Hardiness is variable. Flowers are generally large and showy. The fruit is a berry, often edible.

Opuntia bigelovii

Native to Southwest deserts and northern Mexico. Slow growing to 3–6 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide, with a treelike form. Woody trunk is covered with black spines, which are less conspicuous than their prominent yellow-gold sheaths. Cylindrical, easily detached joints are covered with vicious silvery yellow spines. Most plants never bloom, though they may bear 1–1 1/2-in. pale green, yellow, or white flowers (all with lavender markings) in early spring. Grows freely in the hottest, driest deserts.

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