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Cylindropuntia tesajo (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth

Cholla, pencil cholla

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy
GenusCylindropuntiafrom the Greek kylindros, “a cylinder,” plus genus Opuntia, this is now the new genus of the so-called ‘true chollas’

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Pencil cholla, named for its round, narrow stem segments, is native to the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

Identification: Forming low shrubs that may be upright or semi-prostrate, plants are less than 2½′ (80 cm) high. Stem segments are round, 1-4½″ (3-12 cm) long × ⅛-⅜″ (5-12 mm) in diameter, pale green or brownish green. The tubercules—raised bumps on the stem segments—are small and inconspicuous. The glochids, or groups of small, easily detached spines, are yellow to reddish brown, and 1/16-⅛″ (2-4 mm) long. Spines are sometimes present. Fruits are cylindrical, ½-⅞″ (1.5-2.5 cm) long and ¼-½″ (8-15 mm) around, tan, and dry. They do not have spines.


Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 213

Online References:



The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Center for Sonoran Desert Studies

Cylindropuntia tesajo var. cineracea (Wiggins) Backeb.

Grusonia tesajo (Engelm.) G.D.Rowley

Opuntia cineracea Wiggins

Opuntia tesajo Engelm.


Cylindropuntia tesajo description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Cylindropuntia tesajo (cholla, pencil cholla)

5/24/2009 · Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Ari­zona · ≈ 3½ × 2½′ (110 × 73 cm)


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