Pencil Cholla ( Cylindropuntia ramosissima ), also known as Diamond Cholla, is a medium sized cacti species which is mainly categorized from long narrow body segments and sparse spine density. The stems are green in appearance and dry grey in color. This species is commonly found in Arizona, California and Nevada at elevations below 4,000 feet.
This species of cactus typically grows between three and five feet tall. It is found in well-drained sandy, or rocky soils on flats, bajadas, and moderate slopes in the lower mountains. The skin surface if green in appearance and the surface had a cross-hatch or diamond pattern which give this plant its alias, diamond cholla. Pencil Cholla will bloom in early summer and boasts a smaller flower which is orange, yellow or red in color. The flowers are about the size of a quarter and compared with other cactus species are rather unassuming. This cactus is common in Creosote Bush Scrub and Joshua Tree Woodlands.
The pencil cholla is perhaps the best representative of the harsh desert. Compare to other species, it is harsh and dry in appearance and looks like it is baked in the desert heat.