8 Types of Cacti in California (with Pictures)

Cacti are some of the most nicely-known plants in the entire world, and they’re very best identified for growing in deserts. With a large tolerance for the two sizzling and cold temperatures, cacti usually don’t need much h2o to prosper. They come in a extensive range of dimensions, styles, and even colors that aid to liven up the dry deserts of California and the Southwestern US. Let’s check out some of the most typical cacti that expand in the Golden Condition.

The 8 Common Types of Cacti in California

1. California Cholla

California Cholla
Image Credit: jackkeyz, Pixabay

This is 1 of the most widespread cacti in California, with a few distinctive kinds. Even so, most of them share the scary and dense fur-like quills and straight profiles. Due to the fact the two varieties look so comparable, it is challenging to tell them aside at a look. Equally kinds mostly increase in San Diego, trailing down into Baja California.

2. Barrel Cactus

Texas Blue Barrel Cactus
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The barrel cactus is a quick, stout cactus with a large variety of colorations. The species is endangered since of overharvesting, but it nonetheless thrives in the Mojave Desert of California. The cactus is lined in red, white, and yellow spines that give it an exotic search. As the cactus ages, these spines change gray and wind about the cactus.

3. Teddy Bear Cholla

teddy bear cholla
Image Credit: MikeGoad, Pixabay

This is one particular of the most intriguing cacti that grows in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Also called the leaping cholla, the teddy bear cholla will get its identify from the dense masking of hair-skinny spines that presents it a delicate look. The stems of this cactus periodically detach and “jump” onto passersby and other vegetation to unfold, therefore the nickname.

4. Beavertail Cactus

beavertail cactus
Image Credit: amberdiehl, Pixabay

Beavertail cacti are a variety of prickly pear cactus that only grows to about 23 inches. As an alternative of quill-kind spines on its human body like most cacti, the beavertail has quick bristle-like protrusions named glochids. In the late spring to early summer season, the cactus grows vibrant pink blossoms, so it’s no question it is a yard favourite!

5. Coastal Prickly Pear

Coastal Prickly Pear Cactus
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Identified for its vivid and delicious fruit, the prickly pear has a ton of nicknames: California prickly pear, western prickly pear, and coast prickly pear. Indigenous to southern California and northern Baja California, the cactus’s fruit and pads are Latin American staples originating with Native Individuals. Despite the fact that numerous are reduced-lying, prickly pears have been known to develop as tall as 20 toes tall.

6. Pencil Cholla

Pencil Cholla Cactus
Image Credit: Anne Sholtz, Shutterstock

Also known as the desert Xmas cholla and diamond cholla, the pencil cholla has very slender stems with long spines. It is one of the taller cacti, with an typical peak of six feet tall. Not like other cacti, the pencil cholla can also prosper in grassland and chaparral habitats. In the winter season, it grows purple berries that are alleged to have intoxicating consequences.

7. Silver Cholla

Silver Cholla Cactus
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Surprisingly, the silver cholla is also located in golden versions that give it the nickname golden cholla. The cactus has thick, dense stems that stem off a massive main trunk. The stems are lined in silver or gold spines that are easily detached, with about 30 spines for every part. The silver cholla, and other kinds of chollas, are native to dry eastern California and Arizona.

8. Buckhorn Cholla

Buckhorn Cholla
Image Credit: Marin James, Shutterstock

The buckhorn cholla is a single of the more atypical cacti, with a messy appearance derived from its uneven, random branch proliferation. Most specimens are relatively quick, but some have grown up to ten toes in top. This cactus is discovered in elements of Utah and Nevada, but is most commonly noticed in the desertic locations of Arizona and California.


Cacti are some of the most gorgeous plants that get disregarded, but they have a spectacular selection in California. From the distinctive barrel cactus to the slender pencil cholla, there’s a massive landscape of crops even in the deserts of the Golden Point out.

Featured Impression Credit: moorathenight, Shutterstock