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Joshua Tree National Park > Nature Trail > Indian Cove

Cactus of Many Shapes

The jointed stems and branches of cholla cactus adapt well to hot, dry climates and furnish shelter for many desert animals. Their shallow branching roots gather moisture after even a slight rain, storing it in their tissues for later use.

Cactus wrens and LaConte's thrashers build nests in the cholla's spiny arms and pack rats carry off dead stems for their homes.

Look for these cholla near the trail:

Pencil cholla (long-sheathed spines with pencil-like branches) (Opuntia ramosisima).

Silver cholla (fuzzy appearance with many spines) (Opuntia echinocarpa).

Other cacti you might see near here:

Beavertail (flattened pads covered with minute barbed hairs) (Opuntia basilaris).

Hedgehog Cactus (low rounded heads with multi-colored spines) (Echinocereus Engelmannii).

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Pencil cholla cactus

Also see:
Desert Cactus Guide
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