Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus

Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus, Southwest Desert Flora Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus, Southwest Desert Flora Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus, Southwest Desert Flora Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Cylindropuntia leptocaulis
Common Name: Christmas Cactus
Also Called: Christmas Cholla, Desert Christmas Cactus, Tesajo Cactus (Christmastree Cacti); (Spanish: Tasajillo, Alfilerillo, Catalinaria)
Family: Cactaceae, Cactus Family
Synonyms: (Opuntia leptocaulisOpuntia leptocaulis var. brittonii )
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 6 feet, usually less than 4 feet.
Growth Form: Shrubs or small tress; lacking trunks, often under larger shrubs.
Leaves: Leaves modified into spines or glochids and emerging from areoles.
Flower Color: Pale yellow or greenish; fruits bright red, fleshy, spinless but with glochids.
Flowering Season: May and June.
Elevation: 1,000 to 5,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Variable habitats; grasslands, chaparral and oak-juniper communities, flats, bajadas and slopes, prefers sandy loamy and gravelly soils.
Recorded Range: In the United States Christmas Cactus is found in AZ, NM, OK and TX. In Arizona Christmas is found throughout most of the state, few or no records in the northeast corner of the state.

U.S. Weed Information:
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information:
Wetland Indicator:
Threatened/Endangered Information: Christmas Cactus is salvage restricted in Arizona.

Genus Information: 20 species Cylindropuntia in the United States and Canada.

Comments: Christmas Cactus, Cylindropuntia leptocaulis is in a group referred to as "pencil chollas" and is similar to and closely related to Arizona Pencil Cholla, Cylindropuntia arbuscula and to Klein's Pencil Cactus, Cylindropuntia kleiniae.

References: Date Profile Completed: 06/07/2015, 07/21/2015
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Donald J. Pinkava, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Cactaceae| Page 101, 104, 105 | Cylindropuntia | Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 07-Jun-2015).
1969, Benson, Lyman, The Cacti of Arizona, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Opuntia leptocaulis.
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations, http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/.
USDA – Threatened and Endangered Information:
Arizona, Opuntia leptocaulis, desert Christmas cactus, pencil cholla Salvage restricted