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Common Name:

Tree Cholla

Scientific Name:

Opuntia imbricata

Family Name:



Tree Cholla is the most frequently utilized native tubular stem cacti in Texas. This West Texas native forms a medium shrub to small tree with branched swollen tubular stem segments resulting in a candelabra effect. Attractive purple-pink flowers and 1 inch to 2 inch long yellow fruit are assets. Excellent xeriscape plant, adds a southwestern flare to landscapes.

Plant Habit or Use:

Medium shrub, large shrub, small tree



Flower Color:


Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Tuna, urn-shaped, yellow


4 ft to 8 ft


3 ft to 6 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Surprisingly adapted to a wide range of soils as long as they are well drained; cochineal scale and squash bugs can mar their appearance.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.