Cholla Blossom gets a lot of grief: betrayed by everyone in her life, foiled at every turn, and foreseeing her own death in visions. Plus, several of my beta readers say her name is too hard to pronounce (CHOY-a), and they don't see why I'm unwilling to return to her original name, White Dove the bland. No, just kidding—the name I gave her initially as a placeholder isn't bland, just stereotypical. Here are some of the reasons I chose this difficult name for this angsty teen.
The segmented jointed stems of these species of "jumping cholla" have barbed spines that embed themselves in your skin if you're not careful moving through the desert. Experienced hikers often carry a comb to flick away any joints that hitch a ride. Grabbing onto a stem with your fingers is a mistake you're unlikely to repeat.
So this plant is lovely but prickly and hard to get rid of, just like Cholla Blossom. And it is literally picked in the bud, just as she fears will happen to her; the mature fruits of most species of cholla are not eaten, except in times of starvation.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.