noun \ˈchi-yə\

Definition of CHOLLA

:  any of numerous shrubby opuntias chiefly of the southwestern United States and Mexico that have needlelike spines partly enclosed in a papery sheath and cylindrical joints —called also cholla cactus

Illustration of CHOLLA

Origin of CHOLLA

Mexican Spanish, from Spanish, head
First Known Use: 1846

Rhymes with CHOLLA


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Jumping cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)—Grant Heilman Photography

Any cactus of the genus Opuntia, native to North and South America, having needlelike spines partly enclosed in a papery sheath. Chollas vary greatly in size and have small flowers, sometimes chartreuse and inconspicuous, but usually of more striking colors. O. leptocaulis, the desert Christmas cactus, bears bright red fruits through the winter. Living plants serve as food for desert animals. Cholla wood, a hollow cylinder with regularly spaced holes, is used for fuel and novelties. Some cholla fruit is edible.


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