Tree Cholla Cactus
One plant that I find fascinating is the cholla cactus. There are about 20 species of cholla in North America . The species that is most dominant in this part of the country is the tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata).
Chollas are usually shrubby with cylinder shaped stems. The stems are jointed and serve as water storage, flower production and carry on photosynthesis. The spines are modified leaves and grow from small wart-like projections called tubercles. The leaves are modified to protect the cactus from drying out during long dry spells.
The tree cholla blooms from April through the summer with lavender to red flowers. The fruit is about two inches long and yellow in color. They can grow to a height of seven feet. The dry stems are great for decorating but can be used in a variety of ways.
Get out there and explore your world. You will find something fascinating!
Boise City News