Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cylindropuntia fulgida: Does It Jump?

Cylindropuntia fulgida

One of the hosts at a spring garden tour offered cactus cuttings, pads and segments to tour participants, and I decided I wanted a segment of her beautiful Cylindropuntia fulgida, or Chain Fruit Cholla. I planted it immediately when I returned home, and now, almost six months later, I've decided my choice of location for this cactus was not a good one.

I don’t mind the fact that the cactus has wicked barbed thorns, or that it drops segments often. I like the way the fruits form pink-lavender flowers, and from that another fruit grows, then another flower, then another fruit, etc. This growth on top of growth forms a chain-like cluster of fruits that stay on for years.

The problem is I didn’t really allow enough room between the mature size of the cactus (15 feet high and six feet in diameter) and an adjacent Palo Verde tree. As the two grow, they will compete for space, and it will be hard to prune the Palo Verde tree with the Chain Fruit Cholla so close. Next month, I’ll relocate the cactus while it’s still manageable. Even with all the downsides, I do want a specimen in my garden.

The video below discusses the Chain Fruit Cholla—the dreaded “Jumping Cactus” of myth and legend.

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