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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Feb 11, 2016 8:58 AM CST
I think this is a photo of Teddy Bear Chollas - photos of plants from the same general locality are posted under C. bigelovii var. ciribe.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Feb 11, 2016 11:13 AM CST
I have no computer at the moment - using an aging Nook for connectivity. I am not a desert dweller and assume you are likely correct, but can't do needed research. Anyone else agree with Teddy Bear? What are the differences? I think this was taken at Joshua Tree Park and thought it was marked, but I could be mis-remembering.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 2, 2018 5:26 PM CST
Not sure how I ran into this again (random...) but perhaps one of the admins can move this over to the ID forum to check whether this may be mislabeled. @zuzu @Calif_Sue If it is mislabeled, then it would be good to move it to the correct entry.
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Apr 2, 2018 5:37 PM CST
It does look almost identical to a photo by Kelli taken at the same location, Joshua Tree Nat'l Park: Smiling

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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Apr 2, 2018 5:42 PM CST

Plants Admin

I've moved the photo to the Teddy Bear entry.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 2, 2018 6:03 PM CST
Thanks. I guess. Still unsure what the difference is between the two for a definitive ID.

@Kelli - can you weigh in since apparently your photo is being used as a decision maker? I've been looking online and see that teddy bear cholla is often called jumping cholla, yet there seem to be two different species - C. bigelovii (teddy bear) and C. fulgida (jumping). I'm unable to discern how one differs from the other.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Apr 2, 2018 6:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
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mcvansoest
Apr 2, 2018 7:37 PM CST
With those kind of pictures they are some times hard to keep apart, since C. bigelovii and C. fulgida can have similar looking growth forms especially at that size. Aside from the fact that when you have seen a good bunch of these plants they become easier to distinguish there is in this case another reason why this is not C. fulgida: afaik it does not occur in Joshua Tree Nat. Park, which is where the picture was taken. It does occur in the Colorado Desert of SE CA, but according to the plant list on the webpages for JTNP on the national park service website it is not documented to occur in the actual park.

Up close these plants are actually pretty different, C. fulgida tends to grow bigger (at mature size easily twice the size of C. bigelovii) more tree-like with branching often starting lower on the main trunk and generally with longer much more branching sections. C. bigelovii just does not get as tall and tends to branch from the top of the trunk often without any further branching from those initial batches. The spines while looking similar at a distance are also different with C. bigelovii having more dense spinage. Often C. fulgida will have the very characteristic chain-fruiting behavior where flowers of different years will grow from previous year's fruits, leading to it being called 'Chain Fruit Cholla', they do not always show that behavior, and it does occur on occasion in some other chollas, but not as commonly or with chains of significant length forming.
When in flower the difference is very obvious C. bigelovii has a green-white flowers (although I have seen it called yellow-green), C. fulgida has lavender to purple flowers some times with white fringes. Flower shape and appearance are very different as well and the fruits are also quite different.

The common name 'jumping cholla' comes from the ease with with sections detach from the plant, from personal experience I can say that they do appear to jump at you... (though when I got a section stuck on my arm I probably brushed it with my shirt sleeve). All chollas show this characteristic, but C. fulgida appears to be the best at it, but it is not surprising that you can find 'Jumping Cholla' used for different chollas (which is why listing plants by their latin name would make more sense). I used to have a C. fulgida and in a very strong monsoon storm I saw sections fly through the air across my patio... That and an infestation of cochineal bugs made me dispose of it.
[Last edited by mcvansoest - Apr 2, 2018 7:50 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Apr 3, 2018 8:28 AM CST
Thanks so much for the detailed explanation, something I was having a difficult time finding easily. Our first encounter with a cholla was at Superstitious Mountain, and I too can understand the 'jumping' part (not sure which species may have been there, they were just referred to as jumping chollas with the warning to stay far away from them). I've only visited the SE desert in the winter, have not had the pleasure of seeing it bloom, so can't speak to the color of the flowers. Sounds like my photo is in its proper place as a teddy bear. And now I've learned something new today! Bonus.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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