One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A cactus with a cylindrical stem, native to Mexico and the south-western US.
Genus Opuntia, family Cactaceae
- ‘The vegetation is a mix of grasses, annual herbs and isolated patches of mesquite, cholla, ephedra and yucca.’
- ‘In their desert habitats their diet consists of spiny cactus, yucca pods, creosote bush, cholla, pinyon nuts, seeds, prickly pear, and any available green vegetation.’
- ‘Velvet cactus, prickly pear, Bergerocactus emoryi, and cholla are widespread, often joined by box thorn, a prickly shrub in the nightshade family.’
- ‘Land plants include many cacti, the most spectacular of which are the saguaro, with its thick, armlike branches, and a number of large chollas, such as the tree cholla, the jumping cholla, and the cane cholla.’
- ‘Less than an hour west of Tucson, coasting down State Highway 86 before reaching Kitt Peak and the Baboquivari Mountains, a small hill rises from the cholla, saguaro, and mesquite dotting the landscape.’
Mid 19th century: Mexican Spanish use of Spanish cholla ‘skull, head’, of unknown origin.
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