Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa
Buckhorn Cholla.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Cylindropuntia
C. acanthocarpa
Binomial name
Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Opuntia acanthocarpa

Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, commonly referred to as buckhorn cholla, is a cholla native to the Mojave, Sonoran, and Colorado Deserts of North America. Along with Cylindropuntia bigelovii (the "teddy bear" cholla), it is the most common cholla found in these deserts.


During winter dryness.

There are a number of recognized varieties include:

  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. acanthocarpa [1]
  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. coloradensis — L.D. Benson; Colorado buckhorn cholla.[2]
  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. ganderi — (C.B. Wolf) L.D. Benson
  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. major — Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow [3]
  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. ramosa — Peebles
  • Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. thornberi — (Thornber & Bonker) L.D. Benson; Thornber's buckhorn cholla.[4]


  • Early spring was called ko’oak macat (the painful moon) by the Tohono O’odham because of scarce food supplies. During this season, they turned to cacti for food and pit-roasted thousands of calcium-rich cholla flower buds.
  • Today's O’odham people still pit-roast or boil the cholla buds, which taste like asparagus tips.


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