Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cylindropuntia tesajo, Baja Pencil Cholla

Scientific Name: Cylindropuntia tesajo
Common Name: Baja Pencil Cholla
Also Called: Pencil Cholla, Cholla
Family: Cactaceae, Cactus Family
Synonyms: (Opuntia cineracea, Opuntia tesajo)
Status: Native to Mexico; Baja California.
Duration: Perennial
Size: 2 to 3 feet.
Growth Form: Shrub; low spreading, ascending
Leaves: areoles cream to gray; stems very slender, light green to brownish green, may be purple tinged; glochids yellow to rust-colored.
Flower Color: Yellow or yellowish green; fruits tan, spine-less; 1 to 2.5 inches long by 1.5 inches wide.
Flowering Season: March to May.

Elevation: Sea Level to 2,600 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Gravelly flats, sandy areas, alluvial fans in dry scrubland.

Recorded Range: Cylindropuntia tesajo is native to Baja California.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Cylindropuntia tesajo. Does not occur in the United States.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In Mexico, Baja California Cylindropuntia tesajo maintains a relatively large geographic range and no known threats is listed as Least Concern by the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.

Genus Information: In North America there are 29 species and 39 accepted taxa overall for Cylindropuntia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 43 accepted species names and a further 100 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 12 species of genus, California has 10 species, Nevada has 5 species, New Mexico has 8 species, Texas has 6 species, Utah has 3 species. Hybrids excluded, all data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Very little information exists Baja Pencil Cholla whose geographic distribution is limited to Baja California.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Buckhorn Cholla, Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, Arizona Pencil Cholla, Cylindropuntia arbuscula, Teddy Bear Cholla, Cylindropuntia bigelovii, Jumping Cholla, Cylindropuntia fulgida, Gander's Buckhorn Cholla, Cylindropuntia ganderi, Klein's Pencil Cactus, Cylindropuntia kleiniae, Christmas Cactus, Cylindropuntia leptocaulis and Walkingstick Cactus, Cylindropuntia spinosior.

The former genus name Opuntia is a reference to the Ancient Greek city of Opus where and edible plant grew that could be propagated by rooting its leaves. A common culinary species in the genus Opuntia is the Indian Fig Prickly Pear, O. ficus-indica in which the plants and fruits are important in Mexico and arid and semiarid parts of the world. The current genus name Cylindropuntia adds the Latin and Greek words kylindros and cylindrus, which translated means cylinder, referencing the round cylinder-like stems and trunk.

Date Profile Completed: 12/01/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search (accessed 07/24/2017).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/24/2017).
Encyclopedia of Life; Cylindropuntia tesajo, Pencil Cholla; on-line (accessed: 11/28/2017)
Cylindropuntia tesajo; Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia",
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,
ICUN Red List of Threatened Species on-line - (accessed 11/28/2017).