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The plant has a soft appearance due to its solid mass of very formidable spines that completely cover the stems. From a distance, the stems appear soft and fuzzy, giving it the name "teddy bear". The teddy-bear cholla is an erect plant, standing 1 to 5 ft (0.30 to 1.5 m) tall with a distinct trunk. The branches are at the top of the trunk and are nearly horizontal. Lower branches typically fall off, and the trunk darkens with age. The silvery-white spines, which are actually a form of leaf, almost completely obscure the stem with a fuzzy-looking, but impenetrable, defense. The spines are 1 in (2.5 cm) long and are covered with a detachable, paper-like sheath.
Hills near Gates Pass