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Cylindropuntia wolfii (L.D. Benson) J. Rebman

Wolf’s cholla, Wolf’s opuntia

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’
SpecieswolfiiAfter Dr. Carl Brandt Wolf (1905-1974, botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and author on oaks and cypresses. He collected extensively in Kern County, including several type specimens, and spent many years studying cypresses

About plant names...

Wolf's cholla ("cholla" means a cylindrical stem) is native to extreme southern California and part of the Baja peninsula.

Identification: These heavily branched, shrublike plants reach 1½-5′ (50-150 cm) in height. Stems are segmented, yellowish green, with segments 2-16″ (6-40 cm) long and ⅞-1½″ (2.5-4 cm) around. Spines are yellowish to brown, darkening with age, in groups of 12-30, up to 1″ (3 cm) long. Flowers are yellowish green with tinges of bronze, to purplish brown. (Thanks to Joanne Schwartz for correcting an error in my reporting of flower color.) Grayish fruits are densely covered with spines, about 1″ (3 cm) long and 1″ (3 cm) in diameter.


Anderson, Edward F., The Cactus Family, Timber Press, 2001, p. 215

Online References:

The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (great photos)



The San Diego Natural History Museum

SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Opuntia echinocarpa Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow var. wolfii L.D. Benson

Opuntia wolfii (L.D. Benson) M.A. Baker


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

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Cylindropuntia wolfii (Wolf’s cholla, Wolf’s opuntia)

2/17/2007 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cali­fornia

Cylindropuntia wolfii (Wolf’s cholla, Wolf’s opuntia)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cali­fornia


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