While they both belong to the Cactaceae family, the hedgehog cactus is not a cholla cactus. Cholla cactus, also known as teddy bear cactus, is actually in a different genus: Cylindropuntia. It’s easy to confuse the two plants because they both have barbed spines and are native to arid regions of the United States.
But hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) has long, curving spines that grow out of its joints and are meant for defending against larger animals, whereas cholla cactus (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) has shorter, straight spines that are meant for protection against herbivores—and humans.
Hedgehog cactus has spines can be red or green and are often compared to porcupine quills—hence the name “hedgehog”—and its flowers range in color from pinkish white to bright red. The cholla cactus ranges from Arizona and California all the way up into Oregon and New Mexico. Its shorter spines can be yellow or tan.
N. scientificEchinocereus chisoensis
Family Cactaceae, Cacti, Cactus
Origin Sierra Mojada in Mexico
Flowers purple, pink
Plant and grow
hardiness – 4°
Soil well drained
Humidity very dry ground
Utilization of greenhouse, rock garden
Sensitivity Rot, mealybugs
Desert: Sonoran Desert
Height: 3-10 feet
Joints: Long & straggly
Flowers: Bright yellow, orange, pink or red
Fruit: Spiny & dry
Elevation: 500-4,000 feet
Grows from desert floors to grasslands to lower mountain slopes, developing a thick trunk and with purple jointed joints.
Desert: Chihuahuan Desert of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico
Height: Up to 8 feet
Joints: Thick, tubercled, covered with gray spines
Flowers: From deep purple to yellow and white
Fruit: Flesh, spineless, yellow in winter
Elevation: 2,000-7,000 feet
Difference & Similarity Between Hedgehog cactus and Cholla Cactus
|Echinocereus chisoensis is a small cylindrical candle native to the Sierra Mojada which culminates at an altitude of 1500 meters in northern Mexico.||The cacti are very numerous in the Cholla Garden, part of Joshua Tree National Park in southern California between San Diego and Las Vegas, some at the Arizona Desert Museum in Tucson.|
Chihuahuan Desert of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico
|This species is characterized by its magnificent long-lasting flowering induced by a dry and cold winter.||The cholla cactus has many spreading tubular branches. This plant will have greenish to yellowish flowers, budding from April to June.|
|This genus includes 45 species of perennial cacti, which can form colonies or grow solitary. Echinocereus chisoensis is an erect cactus, with a cylindrical body 5 to 10 cm in diameter.||There is also a trail that is barely 500 meters long and is recommended to be followed.|
|Its diurnal flowering is impressive by the size and the bright color of the flower. From March to June the flowers in flared funnel 5 to 7 cm in diameter pink to purple or magenta with a white throat, very fragrant, will appear for your greatest pleasure.|
|Its cultivation does not require special care. It will need full light to grow optimally. In the ground in the garden, reserve a dry and well-drained place for it, on sloping and stony ground.||Cholla cacti need direct sunlight in order to thrive—and lots of it. Ideally, choose a location that receives between 6-7 hours of direct sun every day.|
|Echinocereus are for the most part very hardy and even withstand a few touches of frost if the ground is not soggy.||It is covered in sharp, barbed spines that have been known to “jump” onto people passing by. This is the way the cholla cactus will spread and reproduce.|
|Echinocereus chisoensis in a substrate composed of 2 parts potting soil, 2 parts pozzolan or fine river gravel, and 2 parts good garden soil.||These cacti are highly susceptible to root rot and need dry and well-draining soil in order to prevent it. Sandy soil is best for these desert-dwellers.|
|Fertilizer is possible during this period once a month to support flowering.||Cholla cacti are not high feeders and do not need regular fertilizing. A fertilizer designed for cacti and succulents can be applied once monthly from the early spring to late summer if desired, but this is not necessary.|
|Indeed, cholla buds can be eaten. In actuality, more than edible. They taste like a magical mashup of green beans, artichoke hearts, and asparagus when done right.||Cacti are consumed for the high protein and are great at storing water due to the dry, arid conditions of their geography|
|Echinocereus. Hedgehog cacti come in a variety of kinds, with some having sweeter fruit than others. To enjoy the fruit raw, simply cut it in half and scoop off the flesh and seeds.||The cholla cactus has to be roasted before being eaten. The meat or “tuna” of the cactus is roasted and then ground, thereby preparing it to be ingested.|
|hedgehog cactus, (genus Echinocereus), genus of about 60 species of cacti (family Cactaceae), native from central Mexico to the western United States.||There are more than 20 species of cholla cactus, with varying different growth habits, sizes, and shapes.|
|Replant container plants in new soil after treating any problems as soon as possible with an insecticide. What is the lifespan of Echinocereus cacti? They can live for at least 10 years in ideal indoor circumstances. Those raised in the open air can live a lot longer.||Perennial plants called walking stick chollas can live for up to 20 years.|
|The reddish-orange fruit develops once flowering is complete. The fruit is spherical to ovoid and about 1 inch long. It has a fleshy white pulp tinged by the reddish-orange skin color.||The fruit is yellow, dry and produces seeds a little over 1/10 inch long.|
The fruit provides fair forage for wildlife but is rarely consumed by grazing livestock.
Jumping Cholla Tips
So be really careful where you step and also that your jacket, backpack or the like doesn’t get caught on such a fallen part. Do not leave the paths and wear closed shoes. My thumb hurt for a good week, but since the spines are quite thick and firm, nothing was left in the thumb and the cactus isn’t poisonous either.
And as pretty as the cactus looks against the low sun: I’ve been at loggerheads with it ever since.