Jumping cholla Facts

Jumping cholla Facts
Jumping cholla is a type of cacti. This plant can be found in Sonoran desert and southwestern parts of the USA. Jumping cholla is adapted to the life in arid areas. It grows in valleys, plains and slopes. Jumping cholla can be found on the altitudes of 4.000 feet. This plant is safe from negative human activities because it inhabits harsh and hostile environment that humans rarely visit. Population of jumping cholla is large and stable in the wild.
Interesting Jumping cholla Facts:
Jumping cholla can reach 6 to 15 feet in height and around 8 feet in diameter.
Jumping cholla has tree-like shape. It has one trunk with multiple drooping branches. Entire plant is covered with wart-like projections.
Stem of jumping cholla consists of numerous segments. It stores water and performs photosynthesis (uses energy of sun to produce food from water and carbon dioxide).
Large number of jumping chollas often grows close to each other and creates impression of large forest.
Jumping cholla develops 0.5 to 1 inch long spines instead of leaves. 6 to 12 spines usually grow from a single areole.
Long, silver spines cover young branches. Old or slow growing branches bear lesser number of short spines. Old branches have rough, scaly bark and they are dark brown colored. This unusual bark becomes visible after removal of the spines.
Almost entire jumping cholla is covered with spines. Dense "spiny coat" acts like a shield which prevents overheating of the plant and keeps hungry herbivores on a safe distance.
Spines are covered with thin, paper-like sheath that can be tan, gold, silver or white colored. This layer reflects light and produces beautiful, colorful effect after illumination of jumping cholla with light.
Easily detachable spines are responsible for an unusual name of this plant. Spines look like they are able to jump and attack humans and animals that are brave enough to approach this plant, hence the name - jumping cholla.
Jumping cholla has barbed spines. Barbs are microscopically small but they easily penetrate the skin and additionally complicate and impede removal of the spines from the body.
Jumping cholla blooms from February to March. Flowers are yellow-greenish colored. They appear at the end of the branches.
Jumping cholla develops pear-shaped fruit that hangs from the branches. New flowers develop on the fruit from previous season, resulting in formation of hanging chains of fruit that can be 2 feet long. Jumping cholla is also known as "hanging chain cholla" due to unusual morphology of the fruit.
Jumping cholla usually produces sterile fruit. Plant often propagates via parts of the stem.
Fruit of jumping cholla represents important source of food and water for deer and bighorn sheep during long periods of drought.
Jumping cholla lives for decades in the wild.

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