Cylindropuntia bigelovii (Opuntia bigelovii)

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JumpingCholla.jpg

Cylindropuntia bigelovii — Teddy Bear Cholla, Superstition Mountains, Arizona, with saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) in background.

Update, 7 January 2009: Reader Stephen Early points out in a comment below that the cactus is in fact a teddy bear cholla, C. bigelovii, not a jumping cholla, C. fulgida. I have changed the entry accordingly. By way of apology, all I can say is (a) I don’t really know from cactuses, and (b) I thought our guide called it a jumping cholla. The Wikipedia entry for jumping cholla notes that the term is often applied to chollas in general.

22 Comments

Matt,

You’re making me feel homesick for my “adopted” state, Arizona. Shame on you!

John

P. S. Another great photograph from you of course!

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Ditto, nice photo. Only been through serious “cactus country” once and had to think: “These gotta be the strangest forests I’ve ever seen.”

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

I wonder if that is the same as Teddy Bear Cactus.

No, not the Jumping Cholla! That is the most evil plant in the world! I cannot recall all the pain I’ve felt from its nasty, horrible spines cutting into the flesh of my shins, because I’ve blocked the pain out for mental survival. Die, weed, die. :)

Frank B said: I wonder if that is the same as Teddy Bear Cactus.

No, it’s a close cousin - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy-bear_Cholla for the article on Cylindropuntia bigelovii.

Teddy Bear Chollas look so soft and fluffy you just want to pat them or stroke them. Then your friends get to take your screaming twitching body to the Emergency Room.

I moved to Nevada a few months ago, and one of my first experiences with the local plant life was a jumping cholla. That wakes you up better than coffee.

I once gingerly put my finger near a jumping cholla, aware of its reputation. I’d swear that my finger got pricked when my eyes told me that my finger was not touching the spines.

Are cactus the porcupines of the plant kingdom? :)

OT, the National Academies has just released a report titled “In the Light of Evolution, Vol II: Biodiversity and Extinction.”

Link http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12501

(Vol I is also available, just search the NAP website for ‘in the light of evolution’)

As a newcomer from the East, when I heard mention of “jumping chollas” I thought they must be like jackalopes. Then I went hiking in the Superstitions, wearing low sneakers. Those things really do hide and wait for you, then jump out of nowhere.

Henry J said: Are cactus the porcupines of the plant kingdom? :)

Pretty much, although some Euphorbias also have impressive thorns - see, for instance, http://www.plantcare.com/encycloped[…]rns-473.aspx

That is definitely the Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida). The entry should be corrected.

You can verify by comparing the picture with the one at the aforementioned http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy-bear_Cholla.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_cholla for the real Jumping Cholla.

I know. I’ve stepped on ‘em both at one time or another.

Those things really do hide and wait for you, then jump out of nowhere.

We are talking about plants here, right? :)

Cholla, the memories they bring to mind. As a transplanted westerner to the east, I still have dreams about the enchanting Cholla and the consequences after an accidental encounter. But I still missed them a lot. Specially every time I take an “easterner” to visit my old stumping grounds. It always comes to they expressing their disbelieve for the powers of the Cholla until they touch it, then all hell brake loose and I love it !!!!!!!!! :-)

I think the plant on the rigt is playing aig guitar. He might be a Cylindropuntia funk-gida. ;)

Cheese and crackers, RIGHT and AIR GUITAR. bleh, I blame my keyboard.

Jim said:

Cheese and crackers, RIGHT and AIR GUITAR. bleh, I blame my keyboard.

You should get you one of them keytars. I hear all the best bands are doing it these days.

It’s funny how a plant can invoke such warm, fuzzy feelings of schadenfreude.

Having been born and raised a few miles from where this photo was take, I can assure you the “Teddy Bear” cholla is even more painful when backed into than is the so-called jumping cactus. Sixty years ago in my youth, ranchers and others would toss a match into the Teddy Bear causing it to flair up, burn the thorns off and quickly die out. The idea was to give cattle a treat that wouldn’t stick in their face and fester. Now, this bad idea would get you a record and all sorts of other bad things.

Just a comment on the “Jumping Cholla.” My understanding is that more than one kind of cholla is commonly referred to as “jumping…” To say that this is a Teddy Bear Cholla and not a Jumping Cholla, or visa versa, is kind of silly (I believe ‘jumping’ is a secondary, or slang name in all cases) A little googling will quickly find numerous sites that refer to either or both the Opuntia fulgida (Chain-Fruit Cholla) and Opuntia bigelovii (Teddy Bear Cholla) as Jumping Cholla. The reason for the “Jumping” moniker is due to the easily separated joints that both these plants have so barely brushing against one will usually result in ‘getting attacked’, if you will, leaving the impression that the cactus jumped on you.

Dave said: The reason for the “Jumping” moniker is due to the easily separated joints that both these plants have so barely brushing against one will usually result in ‘getting attacked’, if you will, leaving the impression that the cactus jumped on you.

It’s my opinion that “jumping” chollas also make their victims jump, too.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 5, 2009 12:00 PM.

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