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TEPHROCACTUS articulatus

Image of Tephrocactus articulatus

James H. Schutte

Family

Cactaceae

Botanical Name

TEPHROCACTUS articulatus

Plant Common Name

Cholla

General Description

This curious Argentine cactus has fragile erect stems composed of cylindrical segments that resemble pine cones. Prominent tubercules and clusters of silvery spines are spirally arranged along the segments. Some forms lack spines. The stems fragment readily if jostled or bumped. A shy bloomer, this cactus sometimes produces white to pinkish, cup-shaped flowers in spring or early summer. The fruits that follow are barrel shaped, dry-fleshed, and very thin walled.

This plant prospers in full sun and dry soil. It will tolerate several degrees of frost. Spineless forms are popular as potted plants and in gardens where hardy. Detached stem segments root easily to form new plants.

Although the stem segments are not actually leaves, they are treated as such in the following list of characteristics.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Argentina

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Olive

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Olive

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No