GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Prickly Pear cactus in Cyprus. 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 genus is characterised by flat, jointed stems covered with stiff hairs or spines. There are also some medical studies which state the prickly pear helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and the pectin in the fruit can help reduce diabetic's insulin requirements.
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