Cylindropuntia bigelovii     
Teddy bear cholla    
Cactaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: upright, trunk-forming segmented cactus
Seasonality: evergreen
Size: to 6ft, spread up to 2/3 height; slow growth
Leaves: very loosely adhered joints 2-4in long with plentiful sharp spines; gold or straw colored; from a distance the spines have the illusion of a soft or fuzzy appearance
Flowers: on joint terminals; greenish white, inconspicuous; bloom from February-May
Fruit: green wrinkled barrel-shaped, 2-4in long
Stems/Trunks: usually single trunked; trunk straight and dark; attractive gold color overall
Range/Origin: Sonoran deserts at elevations up to 3000ft, on mesas and dry rocky slopes
Hardiness: mid to low teens

close-up of Opuntia bigelovii
spines on Cylindropuntia bigelovii and
finger of reckless master gardener



cholla cactus plant
Opuntia bigelovii


one of many cholla cacti also known as 'jumping cactus'
notorious for very loose joint attachment, joints attach to hapless by-passers with the slightest brush

some specimens may have a more greenish (rather than golden) coloration

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This page was first created June 10, 2001 and last modified January 13, 2006.

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