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Useful Temperate Plants

Cylindropuntia arbuscula

(Engelm.) F.M.Knuth

Cactaceae

+ Synonyms

Grusonia arbuscula (Engelm.) G.D.Rowley

Opuntia arbuscula Engelm.

Common Name: Pencil Cholla

No Image.

General Information

Cylindropuntia arbuscula is a spiny, evergreen, succulent much-branched shrubby or tree-like cactus, sometimes with a thick woody trunk and with a dense crown; it can grow 80 - 300cm or more tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Cylindropuntia arbuscula is a widespread and fairly common species with no major threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2017)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids - these are barbed spines that are usually small to minute and are very sharp and brittle. The glochids are very easily dislodged when the plant is touched and can penetrate the skin where, because of their barbs, they become stuck and are very difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable irritation and discomfort[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].
Opuntia species can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, especially in older parts of the plant. Perfectly alright in small quantities, foods containing oxalic acid should not be eaten in large amounts since it can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].

Botanical References

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 

Range

Southwest N. America - Arizona, northern Mexico (Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua).

Habitat

Mostly in sandy loam soils of valley bottoms and bajada plains, and sometimes along the margins of arroyos.; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height2.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Cylindropuntia arbuscula is sensitive to frost[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
In cultivation, Cactus plants generally will not succeed in moist climates. They usually require a sunny position in a well-drained, circumneutral soil and to be kept more or less dry in the dormant season[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The fleshy fruits are often produced in large quantities, with one or often several fruits at a stem tip, the fruits often persistent for about 1 year,[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].
The outer wall of the fruit is actually formed from stem material and, in many species of Cylindropuntia, once detached from the plant will form roots and grow into a new plant. This is often the main way in which a plant will reproduce[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]

Edible Uses

Fruits - raw or cooked[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]. They are used locally to make a drink[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. The spine-free fruit is yellow-green or green even when ripe, though sometimes with a slight reddish or yellowish tinge; it is around 23 - 28mm long and 10 - 12mm in diameter, sometimes enlarging with age[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
],

The flower buds and young stem sections - cooked[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]. A somewhat sour flavour[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
]. Harvested in spring, they were traditionally pit-baked then eaten or dried for later use[
1991
Title
Ajo Peak to Tinajas Altas: A flora in southwestern Arizona. Part 7. Eudicots: Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Publication
Phytoneuron 2014-69: 1-95
Author
Felger R.S. et al
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
2153 733X
Description
 
].The stem sections are green, sometimes purple tinged, around 60 - 105mm long and 5 - 13mm in diameter[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter.
Cuttings of leaf pads or fruits at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2024-05-29. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Cylindropuntia+arbuscula>

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