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Cylindropuntia prolifera

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CactaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to +- cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0--few.
Genera In Family: +- 125 genera, +- 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. Note: Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha.
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CylindropuntiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CHOLLA
Habit: Shrub or small tree, erect to decumbent, many-branched. Stem: regularly segmented, segments generally < 50 cm, < 5 cm diam, cylindric, fleshy, glabrous; ribs generally 0; tubercles generally elongate. Leaf: conic to cylindric, deciduous. Spines: 1--many per areole, < 2 mm diam, generally needle-shaped, smooth, straight, tip smooth or barbed, epidermis separating as a papery sheath; central spines generally not distinct from radial spines; glochids generally numerous in each areole. Flower: lateral to terminal, from distal portion of areole, 1.8--8 cm diam; perianth yellow, yellow-green, orange-yellow, to bronze, pink, or red; ovary glabrous, spines 0--many, glochids many in each areole, scales 0. Fruit: indehiscent; spheric or cylindric to obconic, dry or fleshy to leathery in age, green to dark yellow, glabrous, spiny or spines 0. Seed: 1.9--7 mm, flattened to +- spheric, surface smooth to angular, within an aril, bony and +- white when dry.
Species In Genus: 36 species: America. Etymology: (Cylindric Opuntia) Note: Hybridization common. Young buds of some species used for food, many species for ornament. Cylindropuntia chuckwallensis newly described, added as native.
eFlora Treatment Author: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman

Cylindropuntia prolifera (Engelm.) F.M. Knuth
Habit: Plant < 2 m. Stem: trunk generally 1, branches few to several, generally curving upwards; terminal segments < 13 cm, 3.5--5 cm diam, easily detached; tubercles 1.2--2.5 cm, 4--9 mm high. Spines: 6--14, generally < 2 cm, pale red-brown to dark brown, sheath pale yellow-brown. Flower: produced from areoles of older fruit; inner perianth < 2 cm, purple-red; filaments green, generally tinted purple. Fruit: fleshy, "chained" (flowers and fruits produced sequentially from areoles of older fruits, forming chain of fruits), green, tubercles 0 to shallow; base obtuse; spines 0. Seed: < 4 mm, generally sterile. Chromosomes: 2n=22,33.
Ecology: Ocean bluffs, inland coastal scrub; Elevation: < 450 m. Bioregional Distribution: SCo, ChI; Distribution Outside California: Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul Note: "Chained" fruit unique in genus in California.
Synonyms: Opuntia prolifera Engelm.
Unabridged Note: Probable hybrid of Cylindropuntia alcahes (F.A.C. Weber) F.M. Knuth and Cylindropuntia cholla (F.A.C. Weber) F.M. Knuth, both of Baja California.
eFlora Treatment Author: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman
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Citation for this treatment: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman 2017. Cylindropuntia prolifera, Revision 2, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 25, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 25, 2017.

Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2010 Gary A. Monroe
Cylindropuntia prolifera
click for enlargement
© 2013 Keir Morse
Cylindropuntia prolifera
click for enlargement
© 2012 Gary A. Monroe
Cylindropuntia prolifera
click for enlargement
© 2013 Keir Morse

More photos of Cylindropuntia prolifera in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cylindropuntia prolifera:
SCo, ChI;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.