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Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with few main stems.

General: Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei) is an upright cactus with one to several main stems and numerous short stem segments that tend to come out at right angles. The height usually is to about 4 feet, but it can grow to 7-feet tall. The tubercles are long and narrow. The spines are relatively short (about 3/4-inch long), eight per tubercle. Green stem color clearly evident. Flowers usually yellow, to about 1-1/2-inches in diameter. Fruit yellow, spineless, persistent.

Whipple Cholla is a locally common component of higher-elevation vegetation communities on well-drained sandy and gravelly soils on flats and upper bajadas in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone.

Around Las Vegas, Whipple Cholla is uncommon, but it can be seen along Pine Nut Road and Mormon Well Road in the Desert National Wildlife Range and places eastward at higher elevations. Roads at higher elevations on the Desert National Wildlife Range require, at the least, a high clearance vehicle.

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae)

Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)

Other Names: Plateau Cholla, Opuntia whipplei.

Plant Form: Upright and shrub-like, often with one to several main stems.

Height: Usually to about 4 feet (to 7 feet).

Trunk: Usually has a narrow trunk (no larger in diameter than other stem segments).

Stems: Divided into segments; cylindrical. Segments generally less than 5-inches long and about 1-inch in diameter.

Stem Surface: Tuberculated. Tubercles elliptical to elongate, about three times as long as wide (contrast with Silver Cholla, which have shorter, more oval tubercles).

Spines: Eight spines per tubercle, to about 3/4 inches long; sheath papery, straw to yellowish.

Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)

Glochids: Present, yellow.

Flowers: Blooms late spring and early summer. Inflorescence: solitary flowers at stem tips. Flower: diameter about 1-1/2 inches, yellow to chartreuse.

Fruit: Fleshy, Tuberculated, yellow, without spines.

Seeds: Few per fruit, small (1/8-inch diameter), tan.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on flats and upper bajadas into the lower mountains.

Distribution: Southeastern Nevada to Colorado and western New Mexico.

Elevation: About 4,500 to 8,000 feet.

Comments: Hybridizes with other chollas.

Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with single main stem on brushy flats
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with several main stems
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with short spines and long, narrow tubercles
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla growing prostrate
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla leaves on fresh stem sprouts
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Green Whipple Cholla flowers
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Red tinged Whipple Cholla flowers
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Green Whipple Cholla flowers and buds
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Green Whipple Cholla flower
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Red tinged Whipple Cholla flowers
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with developing yellow fruits
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with ripe red fruits. The fruits are spineless
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla with yellow fruits.
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla yellow fruits. The fruits are spineless.
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei)
Whipple Cholla in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
Whipple Cholla (Cylindropuntia whipplei) More to come

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170924

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