FRANK ZULLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANK ZULLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Prickly Pear cactus. Red, ripe fruit growing on a Prickly Pear cactus, Opuntia sp. . The warty, pear-shaped fruits of some species can be used as food by humans and animals. The Opuntia genus of cacti originated in tropical and subtropical areas of America but have since been introduced into tropical areas around the world for use in agriculture. The most important species are the tuna cacti (O.tuna) and Indian fig (O.ficus-- indica). However, some species produce poisonous fruit. The genus is characterised by flat, jointed stems covered with stiff hairs or spines. Photo- graphed in the deserts of Arizona, USA. In this area, Opuntia sp. cacti are grown for cattle feed.
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