The Silver Cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa) is a cactus native to California, Nevada, and Arizona (USA) and northwestern Mexico. They grow in desert regions at elevations from 30 to 600 m (100 to 2000 ft). It stands out in the desert because of it's ghostly white branching sections. The Silver Cholla is an erect plant, standing 1-1.5 m (3-4 ft) tall with a distinct trunk. The branches are at the top of the trunk and are nearly horizontal. Lower branches typically fall off, and the trunk stays white. The silvery-white spines, which are actually a form of leaf, almost completely obscure the stem with a fuzzy-looking, but are an impenetrable, defense. Be careful when handling. Use tongs or some other gripping tool; not hands or gloves.
Recommended Sunset Magazine Temperature Zone: 8-13
Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 10°F (-7°C)