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Prickly Pear

Opuntia phaeacantha


The prickly pear cactus, a common paddle-shaped cactus, is used by the native people for a food source. The bugs that build homes on them, the cochineal, is commonly used in dyes.


Fun fact: The sweet juicy fruits of the prickly-pear, called tunas, are said to taste a bit like watermellon and are very popular everywhere except the United States. In fact, annual world-wide commercial production of prickly-pear tunas is more than twice that of strawberries, avocados, or apricots! The pads, called nopales, are a popular vegetable in Mexico and Central America. They are usually cooked but can be eaten raw and these taste a little like green beans.

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Courtney Fisher
Spotted by
Courtney Fisher

Tijuana, Mexico

Spotted on Jun 21, 2012
Submitted on Jul 11, 2012

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