Prickly pears (Opuntia ficus-indica)

Prickly pears (Opuntia ficus-indica)

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Developing fruits of the prickly pear, or Indian fig, cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica). The picture shows the young fruits, turning red, along the edges of flattened stems, known as pads. In common with many members of the Cactaceae, the leaves are reduced to spines. In the case of Opuntia, some of these are barbed (glochids) and can cause considerable skin irritation when encountered. The fruits when mature are large, usually of reddish or yellowish hue, edible, and considered to be a delicacy. The genus Opuntia is the second largest of the family Cactaceae. O. ficus-indica is a native of Mexico.

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Keywords: biological, biology, botanical, botany, cactaceae, cactus, cactus spines, edible fruit, flora, fruit, fruiting, glochids, mexico, nature, opuntia ficus-indica, plant, prickly pear cactus, skin irritation

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