Buckhorn Cholla

Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, formerly Opuntia acanthocarpa) cacti bloom in late April and May here in Tucson. The de-spined young flower buds are edible if steamed or boiled and they are a traditional food item for the Native Americans in this area. The spiny fruits quickly dry out to a tan color on the plant and are likely not very tasty.

Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa, formerly Opuntia acanthocarpa)

Buckhorn Cholla cacti get their common name because of their resemblance to the antlers of a male deer. These cacti are very similar to Staghorn cholla (Cylindropuntia versicolor) and Cane cholla (Cylindropuntia spinosior), but unlike these other two chollas, Buckhorn Chollas have spiny fruits which will drop off of the plant well before it blooms. If you see a large cholla blooming here with no mature fruits on the whole plant, it is likely a Buckhorn Cholla.

Buckhorn Chollas are mainly found on the west side of Tucson, and they are abundant in Saguaro National Park West, Tucson Mountain District.