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Cholla Cactus Garden

Experts at water conservation, Bigelow cholla store water
in their stems, lay roots close to the soil surface to absorb
periodic rains, bear no leaves to minimize moisture loss,
and grow spines to break up the sun's rays and keep the
plants from getting too hot.

Formidable spines keep hungry and destructive animals
away, cool fleshy tissues, and spread new plants over a
wide area to root and trow. Surprisingly, they don't
discourage clattering cactus wrens, intrepid packrats, and
a variety of lizards, crickets, mice, and small snakes from
setting up housekeeping.

Although Bigelows are sometimes called "jumping cholla,"
they don't really jump - but they'll stick to you with a
vengeance if you brush against them. They're also
sometimes called "teddybear cholla" - but don't be
tempted to pet one!

Look for thorny-fruited cholla, "pencil" or "holycross"
cholla, and other members of the cactus family nestled
here and there amongst the Bigelow cholla.

This glistening cactus garden is the monument's larget and
thickest colony of Bigelow cholla (CHOY-ya).

Don't miss the rest of our virtual tour of Joshua Tree National Park in 1588 images.