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Prickly Pear nectar is made with the juice and pulp of the fruits.

These sheaths are often bright and colorful, providing the cactus with its distinctive appearance.

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Prickly pears grow prostrate or spread out along the ground.

Another adaptation that the prickly has that contributes to its survival is vegetative reproduction (see ). Creating seeds and flowering take up a lot of resources. By doing this form of asexual reproduction the plant is able to use the energy and resources else where for survival. This also ensures the survival of the species because new seedlings are fragile and very susceptible to the harsh environment. Only a small portion of seeds germinate to become full grown plants.

This catalog is for information only. If you don't see the price - the plant is not for sale.

Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest, with different species having adapted to different locale and elevation ranges. Most require course, well-drained soil in dry, rocky flats or slopes. All have flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions - water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Members of the Opuntia genus are unique because of their clusters of fine, tiny, barbed spines called glochids. Found just above the cluster of regular spines, glochids are yellow or red in color and detach easily from the pads. Glochids are often difficult to see and more difficult to remove, once lodged in the skin. The fruits of most prickly pears are edible. Prickly pear branches (the pads) are also cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Because of the glochids, great care is required when harvesting or preparing prickly pear cactus. Most prickly pear cactus have yellow, red or purple flowers, even among the same species. There are many varieties, non-native imports and hybrids, so identification can often be difficult.

All species of prickly pear also have glochids.

Like other cacti, the prickly pear is a succulent.

Water is a very sacred resource to plants, and since the environment is very dry (only about 3 to 16 inches of rain a year) conserving water is extremely important. One way that the prickly pear Cactus does this is it stores water in its pads to use when there is a drought. Another way it conserves water is that it has modified its leaves into spines. These structures also serve as protection.

This plant differs from other plants in photosynthesis by gathering its carbon at night (see ). A plant in a water plentiful habitat is able to open its stoma (a structure on a leaf that functions in gas exchange) during the day to access carbon for the Calvin cycle. Doing this however causes water to evaporate through the stoma. Since the habitat for the prickly pear cactus is not plentiful of water, it is important that water is conserved. This is done by opening to stomata at night when the air is cooler and less water will evaporate. The carbon collected at night is then converted to organic acid which is stored inside the cactus until the sun rises to provided the products of the light reactions.

The pads of the prickly pear are actually modified branches or stems.

During droughts ranchers burn off the spines and feed prickly pears to their livestock.

They, too, are sold in stores under the name "Nopalito." Because of the glochids, great care is required when harvesting or preparing Prickly Pear cactus.

Some studies have shown that the pectin contained in the Prickly Pear pulp lowers levels of "bad" cholesterol while leaving "good" cholesterol levels unchanged.

Sheep have been known to survive on nothing but prickly pear for up to 8 months.
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  • The fruits are called cactus pears, prickly pears or tunas.

    Distinctive of the brown-spined prickly pear, the pads are bluish-green in color and oblong in shape.

  • Ripen firm prickly pears at room temperature until soft.

    Both the fruit and the pads of the prickly pear are edible and used in many ways.

  • Prickly Pear Cactus ( Opuntia chlorotica ) - BioWeb Home

    Named for its pear-like shape and size, Prickly pear fruit comes from any of several varieties of cacti.

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The habitat for the prickly pear cactus is very harsh

There are on going studies and at this point there are no proven results on humans.

Many types of Prickly Pear cactus can grow into dense, tangled structures.

Prickly Pear Cactus - DesertUSA

There has been medical interest in the Prickly Pear plant. Some studies have shown that the pectin contained in the Prickly Pear pulp lowers levels of "bad" cholesterol while leaving "good" cholesterol levels unchanged. Another study found that the fibrous pectin in the fruit may lower diabetics need for insulin. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that help keep blood sugar stable. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that may help keep blood sugar stable. There are on going studies and at this point there are no proven results on humans.

Prickly Pear Cactus - Sonoran Desert Detectives

Many if not most cacti can be eaten if the spines are removed, and the wonderful thing about Nopal is that it produces few or no regular spines. However, cacti produce two kinds of spines, big ones and tiny ones, and even Nopal bears some of the tiny ones, which are called glochids. In the picture you can see some. Touch your fingertip to them and they'll come off and you'll want tweezers for removing them.

Today we are going to learn about the Prickly Pear Cactus

Indian-Figs are the main source of edible cactus slivers, or nopales, though the pads of most species of prickly-pear cacti also are edible. Indian-Figs are mainly chosen for food because of their relative spinelessness.

take place in a prickly pear cactus?

To set this Prickly Pear Cactus as wallpaper background on your desktop, select above resolution links then click on the DOWNLOAD button to save Prickly Pear Cactus images on your desktop computer. Right click on the picture you have saved and select the option "Save image as" or "Set As Background".

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