The teddy-bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) may have a friendly name – but a hug from one of these is anything but! From a distance, this succulent looks furry and soft. This ‘fuzz’ is actually a dense layer of incredibly sharp spines.
Nicknamed the ‘jumping cholla’, this cactus reproduces through stemjoints that easily detach and fall to the ground where new plants can start. Thanks to minuscule barbs in the spines, even just the slightest brush of these stems will cause them to latch on and dig in. Touching this succulent is extremely painful and very difficult to remove…we think you might get the ‘point’.
When exploring Joshua Tree, the Cholla Cactus Garden is the perfect location to safely observe teddy bear cholla in a thriving habitat. While walking amongst them, be sure to stay on the trail and avoid touching the spines. Keep an eye out for stems that have fallen onto the trail and wear sturdy shoes that can protect your feet. Bees may be close to the garden looking for water, so #beeware of any buzzing you may hear!