Teddy Bear Cholla
In December I camped out at Joshua Tree National Park. Just because it’s a desert doesn’t mean it can’t get cold here. The temperature dropped to the teens on this crystal clear morning. The cholla cactus is one of many unique plants found in the deserts of California. This subspecies is the teddy bear cholla, so called because of the soft fuzzy appearance at first glance. But they are not very cuddly. The fringes of the cholla take on an amazing golden glow when backlit by the sun low in the sky. As the plants age, the lower joints turn brown and fall to the ground. That is how they reproduce and most cholla plants in a stand are clones of one another. Another name it goes by is “jumping cholla.” If you even slightly brush up against it, the sharp quills will attach to your skin or clothing and are very difficult to remove. The park service keeps a first aid kit at this trailhead for those visitors unlucky enough to need it.