Plant Form: Shrub
Plant Size: 8’ x 5’
Plant Type: Evergreen
Sunlight: Full Sun
Flower Colors: Purple, red
Physical Description: Mass of leafless, succulent, intricately branched stems covered with sharp spines. Large waxy petaled, reddish-purple flowers followed by persistent yellow fruit.
Care and Maintenance: Formidable barbed spines and irritating glochids on stems. Cochineal bugs and stem borers. Safe disposal of pruned or dead stems difficult.
Gardener’s notes: Tree-like when mature. Dried stem skeleton used for canes. West Texas/New Mexico native replaced westward by similar O. spinosor in N.M./Arizona. Other native species including red fruited Christmas Cholla, O. leptocaulis, available. All easily rooted from stem joints.
Southwest Plant of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES