The Chainfruit Cholla is a very popular Sonoran Desert cholla, along with the Teddy Bear Cholla. The Chainfruit and Teddy Bear often get mixed up, but the Teddy Bear is usually shorter than the Chainfruit and never has the fruit. The fruit is edible, but it tastes very bad and is not good for you, so don’t eat it.
The Chainfruit Cholla is also called the Jumping Cholla, because it was believed that parts of the cholla branches jumped off and clung onto you. This is not true. Cholla balls break off very easily, hoping to find a good place to replant. Experienced hikers learn to carry a small comb with them to help take it out. Packrats find cholla balls very useful to help protect their nest.
The Chainfruit Cholla flowers April-September. The chollas usually have only one to two flowers, about one inch long, and a bright, magenta color.
The nest in the cactus is most likely a cactus wren’s nest. Our bird expert, Sandy Hornbaker, would know more about that.