An overview of Cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.) from Sonora, Mexico


  • R.R. Balandrán-Quintana
  • A. González-León
  • A.R. Islas-Rubio
  • T.J. Madera-Santana
  • H. Soto-Valdez
  • J.N. Mercado-Ruiz
  • E. Peralta
  • L.E. Robles-Osuna
  • F. Vásquez-Lara
  • T. Carvallo-Ruiz
  • M.C. Granados-Nevarez
  • Y.Y. Martínez-Núñez
  • L.C Montoya- Ballesteros



Cholla, Cylindropuntia spp, cactus, distribution, chemical composition.


The cholla (Cylindropuntia cholla, C. imbricata, C. fulgida, or C. bigelovii) is a cactus that grows
in desert regions such as Sonora, Mexico. It is capable of surviving extreme conditions, with
low water availability including extreme temperature fluctuations, high ultraviolet radiation, low
nutrient content soils, and drought. This Cactaceae plant is arborescent or shrub, with a welldefined
trunk, a main stem with verticilos of lateral branches, and strongly tuberculate; the stem
has tubers arranged in series of spirals and this tubers have areoles. A short-term use of this
Cactaceae is obtaining its root for folk medicine and stalks as new foodstuffs like cholla juice.
In the long term, cholla juice provides a precedent in establishing processes for the
development of products such as cholla tea, cooked slices, and pickled, dehydrated product,
among others. The cholla plant shares characteristics with other members of the plant family
Cactaceae and its chemical composition (fiber, carbohydrates, etc.) is also similar to nopal
cactus. Therefore, it has the potential of medicinal properties that would counteract symptoms
of chronic-degenerative diseases such as diabetes. Moreover, identification and
characterization of its chemical compounds, toxicity, processing effect on bioavailability,
mechanisms of action, and health effects of bioactive compounds, have been scarcely
investigated and therefore, requires scientific evidence on these important aspects.