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Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)

General: Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata) is a low-growing, shrubby, densely branched cactus with one to several upright stems and many, short side branches that grow so compactly that the little stems seem to interlock. The spines are fairly short and narrow, white, and dense enough to obscure the green of the stem. The fruits are yellow, persistent, and spineless (some populations have spiny fruits). This plant sometimes grows on the ground as a mat.

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)

Blue Diamond Cholla is a rare, but locally common (rare, but where they grow, there can be many individuals in a small area) component of vegetation communities on well-drained gravelly and rocky limestone ridges on upper bajadas and steep slopes into the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone.

This rare species occurs in Red Rocks NCA, in the La Madre Mountain Range, in the Gold Butte region of Lake Mead, and on the Desert National Wildlife Range, but it can not be easily seen anywhere. Long hikes, long drives on rough dirt roads, or trespass onto private property are required to see it.

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other Names: Clokey Cholla, Opuntia multigeniculata, Opuntia whipplei var. multigeniculata, Cylindropuntia whipplei var. multigeniculata.

Plant Form: Compact, upright, or mat forming cactus. Densely branched.

Height: Upright form to about 3 feet, mat form remains close to the ground.

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)

Trunk: None per se, but one to several stems.

Stems: Divided into segments; cylindrical. Mature stem segments 1 to 2-inches long. New segments produced at right angles to older stem segment.

Stem Surface: Tubercled. Tubercles prominent (they stick way out), laterally flattened, about 1/4-inch long.

Spines: dense (10 to 12 per tubercle) and relatively short (3/4 to 1-inch long).

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Spineless fruits

Glochids: Present.

Flowers: Blooms in early summer. Inflorescence: flowers solitary at the ends of stem segments. Flower yellow to chartreuse, to about 1-inch diameter.

Fruit: Typical form is yellow, spineless, persistent, and about 3/4-inch long. Populations east of Las Vegas have spiny fruit.

Seeds: Few per fruit.

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)Short, narrow, white spines; prominent tubercles

Habitat: Dry, well-drained gravelly and rocky slopes on upper bajadas and moderate slopes in the lower mountains.

Distribution: This species is found only in Clark County. The spineless form is found in the Las Vegas Range, La Madre Range, Blue Diamond Hill, and the North McCullough Mountains.

Elevation: About 3,500 to 5,800 feet.

Comments:

Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Type location: Blue Diamond Hill
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Type location: Blue Diamond Hill
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata) Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Upright growth form
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Compact growth form
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Mat growth form
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Flower buds
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Flower about 1-inch diameter
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Flower about 1-inch diameter
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Plant with ripe fruits
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Dried, spineless fruits
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata) Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
more to come ...
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Blue Diamond Cholla in the North McCullough Wilderness Area
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Naked fruit (North McCullough Wilderness Area)
Blue Diamond Cholla (Cylindropuntia multigeniculata)
Naked fruit (North McCullough Wilderness Area)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140424

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