Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jumping Cholla Cactus-Real or Fiction?

Jumping Cholla- host Kim Stone

The Cholla Cacti is known as the "Jumping Cactus." It is notorious for very loose joint attachments, because the joints attach to hapless by-passers with the slightest brush.(see specimen with spoon) Cholla's vary in color and you can find over 20 differt species here in the Southwest. The most silvery are known as the "Teddy Bear Cholla." and it is said to "jump" on you if you get close to it. As Kim Stone points out in his video, it really doesn't jump, but it very easily attaches to you if you lightly brush against it.

In the six years that I have lived here in Tucson,I usually find myself getting stuck whenever I get too close. When this happens, the thorns swell in your skin and they become difficult to remove.

The cactus wren, which is called "the smartest bird in America" makes her nest in this cactus and is very safe from all predators. For the rest of us, it is just best to stay away!

To see the video on the "Jumping Cactus", just double click below the picture where Kim Stone's name is given.


  1. Jumping cactus are like UFOs. If you have seen one you believe, if not, you are skeptical. I grow up in Tucson, AZ. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I was walking in my neighborhood near Craycroft Rd and 22nd St. when a segment of jumping cactus, that was no longer attached the plant, jumped 3 feet and stabbed my foot. The segment was lying next to the curb and I was walking at least 3 feet from the curb. I never touched it. I watched it move all by itself and embed its thorns in my sandaled toes. I do not know what the conditions are that make them jump, but I will testify in a court of law that they do jump without having to touch them. To me this is not fiction or myth. Having experienced it myself I can tell you this is real.

  2. I also grew up in and around Tucson and a small town called Three Points in Arizona. I never personally got "attacked" by cholla, but one of our next door neighbors out in Three Points had a little boy who got hurt really badly by a cholla cactus. I don't remember whether it jumped on him or he fell into it, but I do remember that he was covered in the segments and that the boy ended up in the hospital.