Desert Ow-l

Hoo-hoo might this be?

I caught only a glimpse of the “eyes” as I passed but it stopped me mid-step. Then I realized they were scars where two cholla (CHOY-uh) “buds” — actually stem joints — had fallen off.

Chainfruit cholla — so named for the clusters of fruit that hang down — is common on the Sonoran Desert. It’s also known as jumping cholla. For good reason.

The stem buds are so loosely attached they come loose at the slightest touch and you quickly find yourself wearing them. Not good. Best way to remove them is to place a comb between you and the hitchhikers and quickly flip it away.

Alert: If the spines are in your skin this is gonna feel like tooth extraction without freezing. Been there. Done that. Only once.


P.S. Tired of hiking with the same folks? Just aim the cholla buds in their direction. That should solve the problem.

Chainfruit cholla   Cylindropuntia fulgida