Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, Christmas Cactus
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 leptocaulis, Opuntia leptocaulis var. brittonii )
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:
Threatened/Endangered Information: Christmas Cactus is salvage restricted in Arizona.
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.