FutureStarr

Prickly Pear Cactus Info

Prickly Pear Cactus Info

Prickly Pear Cactus Info

There's a lot of great information on the web about this fantastic cactus, and here's a snippet, along with some useful links in the midst of which you'll find a recipe that calls for a Prony-Pear.The Indian fig is bushy to treelike, growing to a height of 5.5 metres (18 feet). It bears large yellow flowers, 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) across, followed by white, yellow, or reddish purple fruits. It is widely grown in warmer areas for the fruit and edible paddles and as a forage crop. The hard seeds are used to produce an oil. Because of their high water content, the stems, especially of spineless varieties, are used as emergency stock feed during drought. prickly pear, also called nopal, any of several species of flat-stemmed spiny cacti of the genus Opuntia (family Cactaceae) and their edible fruits. Prickly pear cacti are native to the Western Hemisphere. Several are cultivated, especially the

Fruit

The Engelmann prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii) can be easily identified by it's broad, flat, green pads. The white spines are 3" long and can be flat, curved or straight. They also are covered with tiny, barbed hairs known as glochids. Groups of up to 6 spines emerge from a common center areas known as areole's which are scattered around each pad. The flowers are yellow and emerge in May-June. Ripe fruit are found beginning in July and are identified by their bright red color.Prickly pears typically grow with flat, rounded cladodes (also called platyclades) containing large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids that readily adhere to skin or hair, then detach from the plant. The flowers are typically large, axillary, solitary, bisexual, and epiperigynous, with a perianth consisting of distinct, spirally arranged tepals and a hypanthium. The stamens are numerous and in spiral or whorled clusters, and the gynoecium has numerous inferior ovaries per carpel. Placentation is parietal, and the fruit is a berry with arillate seeds. Prickly pear species can vary greatly in habit; most are shrubs, but some, such as Opuntia galapageia of the Galápagos, are trees.

If the outer layer is not properly removed, glochids can be ingested, causing discomfort of the throat, lips, and tongue, as the small spines are easily lodged in the skin. Native Americans like the Tequesta would roll the fruit around in a suitable medium (e.g. grit) to "sand" off the glochids. Alternatively, rotating the fruit in the flame of a campfire or torch has been used to remove the glochids. Today, parthenocarpic (seedless) cultivars are also available. The seeds can be used for flour. Tungi is the local St. Helenian name for cactus pears. The plants (Indian fig opuntia) were originally brought to the island by the colonial ivory traders from East Africa in the 1850s. Tungi cactus now grows wild in the dry coastal regions of the island. Three principal cultivars of tungi grow on the island: the 'English' with yellow fruit; the 'Madeira' with large red fruit; and the small, firm 'spiny red'.Tungi also gives its name to a local Spirit distilled at The St Helena distillery at Alarm Forest, the most remote distillery in the world, made entirely from the opuntia cactus. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

 

Related Articles