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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 2016. Cylindropuntia prolifera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 10, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 10, 2016.

Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2012 Gary A. Monroe
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2013 Keir Morse
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2012 Gary A. Monroe
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2014 Barry Rice
Cylindropuntia prolifera
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© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Cylindropuntia prolifera in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cylindropuntia prolifera:
SCo, ChI;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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.