Varieties 2 (1 in the flora): sw United States, nw Mexico.
Plant: small tree or shrub, much-branched, the older branches at base of crown dark-brown, clinging to solitary or multiple trunks, 0.3-1.5(-3) m tall; STEM segments green to light green, the ultimate ones usually very easily detached, 4-13(-18) cm long, (2-)4-5.5 cm in diam.; tubercles salient, obdeltoid, 6-12 mm long. AREOLES white-, yellow- to brownish-felty, aging gray, elliptic-deltoid, 3-7 cm long, 2-4 mm wide Leaves: SPINES at most areoles, pale yellow to yellow to tan, aging dark brown, interlaced, and nearly completely obscuring stem, 3-11(-15) per areole; sheaths uniformly whitish or pale yellow, baggy; distal spines terete, erect-spreading, largest (10-)20-30 mm long; basal spines subterete to flattened, spreading to deflexed, the largest (10-)15-25 mm long. GLOCHIDS yellow, in a broad apical crescent, sometimes extending basally along areole margins, 3-4 mm long Flowers: inner tepals pale green, sometimes red-tipped, spatulate, emarginate-apiculate, often erose, (15-)20-35 mm long; filaments pale green to green, the anthers yellow-orange; style light green; stigmas cream to green Fruit: yellow, strongly tuberculate, cylindric to broadly obconic, with umbilicus to 10 mm deep, fleshy-leathery, becoming spineless, losing bristle-spines of young fruit, (15-)22-40 mm long, (8-)16-20(-28) mm in diam.; areoles 36-76, equally spaced; SEEDS, 2.5-4 mm long, 2.2-3.5 mm wide, pale yellow, in gelatinous mass, angular to squarish in outline, warped, the sides smooth, each with 1-2 large depressions, the girdle smooth or as a very narrow marginal ridge REFERENCES: Pinkava, Donald J. 1999. Cactaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).
Benson 1982, Pinkava 1999
Common Name: teddybear cholla Duration: Perennial Protected Status: Salvage restriced status in Arizona. Spines: Areoles white, yellow, to a felty brownish but aging gray, elliptic-deltoid, 3-7 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, with 7-11 spines at most areoles, these spines pale yellow to tan and aging dark brown. The upper spines terete and erect, spreading, 20-30 mm long, basal subterete to flattened. Flowers: Inner tepals pale green and sometimes red-tipped, these spatulate with an irregular margin each 20-35 mm long. Bearing pale green filaments with yellow orange anthers, a light green style, and a cream to green stigma. Fruits: Yellow and strongly tuberculate, cylindric to broadly obconic, fleshy and leathery, becoming spineless, 22-40 mm long and 16- 20 mm diameter with 36-76 areoles. Ecology: Found on sandy flats to gravelly slopes to rocky washes, bajadas, and hillsides from 1,000-3,000 ft (305-914 m), flowers March-June Distribution: sw UT and s NV to n MEX (Sonora, Baja California Notes: Ours is var. bigelovii. Known to hybridize with C. acanthocarpa var. major. Ethnobotany: The buds were cooked, roasted or baked, eaten, and stored for food. Etymology: Cylindropuntia is from Greek kylindros or a cylinder, plus the genus Opuntia, while bigelovii is named for Dr. John Milton Bigelow (1804 -1878) a botanist who collected as part of the Whipple survey of 1853-1854. Synonyms: Opuntia bigelovii Editor: SBuckley, 2010