As one of its common names suggests, cylindropuntia fulgida
is easily recognized by the chains of conical, green, spineless fruit which hang down from the end of each stem, remaining there for several years. The plant is densely covered by white or pale yellow spines, variable in length, and has many short joints, up to around 6 inches long. Mature plants develop a tall stem, on which the spines become brown, black, or fall away, and the cactus may reach heights of 12 feet or more. Like some other cholla species, the spiny stem segments are very easily detached, adhering to anything that moves past. The pinkish flowers are less prominent than those of other cholla species since they open late in the day and close early in the morning.
The uncommon mamillata
variety, known as the boxing glove cactus, is less branched, has almost no spines, much thicker stems and more prominent tubercles; it occurs over a similar area of central Arizona. The jumping cholla forms a hybrid with cylindropuntia spinosior
(cane cholla), to create cylindropuntia x kelvinensis