Previous Plant (cholla) Back to Search Next Plant (Cilantro)

Cholla Cactus

San Clemente, CA

General Information

Common Name(s): coastal cholla cactus, choya, cholla costera
Family Name: Cactaceae
Genus: Opuntia
Species: prolifera
Indigenous Name: choya
San Clemente, CA Encinitas, CA

Supporting Documents


Botanical Description(s)

1) The cholla cactus has many spreading tubular branches. This plant will have greenish to yellowish flowers, budding from April to June. 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.
Bibliographic Source: Tijuana, Estuary - Cholla Cactus
Publication: Natural Management And Research, 2000

Plant Uses

Medicinal Uses

>Medicinal Purpose: > Burns and other wounds
>Part Used: > cactus meat, under skin, which is called "tuna"
>Preparation: >Stripped and Roasted
>Administration: >Poultice
>Explanation: >The cactus must be roasted, and then applied to burns and wounds
>Related Plant Lore: >The Cholla cactus becomes tall and heavy, and collapses, that is how it spreads.
>Ethnographic Details and Source: >Pink, Willie - 03-MAR-08
Utilitarian Uses
No Utilitarian Uses Found in Database
Food Uses

>Medicinal Purpose: > Cacti are consumed for the high protein and are great at storing water due to the dry, arid conditions of its geography
>Part Used: > the roots and stems are used. The stems are used for the meat under the spikes and skin, and the roots for a water source.
>Preparation: >The cholla cactus has to be roasted before being eaten
>Administration: >poultice
>Explanation: >the meat or "tuna" of the cactus is roasted and then ground, thereby preparing it to be ingested
>Related Plant Lore: >The cholla cactus is also called a "jumping cactus" because of the way that it will spread, its sharp spines apparently "jumping" onto people's clothes or animals coats.
>Bibliographic Source: >Tijuana, Estuary - Cholla Cactus
Publication: Natural Management And Research, 2000
Cultural Uses
No Cultural Uses Found in Database