The Cactaceae (Cactus) family includes the eastern prickly pear. There are around 1,800 species in this family, all native to the New World with the possible exception of one or two. With over 150 species in the genus Opuntia, the prickly pears are regarded as an ancient subgroup of the cactus family. It can be found from New Mexico and Montana east to Florida and Massachusetts, and it has the broadest distribution of any American cactus. Additionally, Ontario has it. Eastern prickly pears can grow in a region in big colonies or as a few lone plants. It is frequently referred to as Opuntiacompressa in older botanical manuals.
This species is a typical cactus with a stalk that performs photosynthetic leaf function. Water is also kept in this stem. It can endure the subfreezing conditions of the northern and middle states thanks to specific antifreeze compounds in its cells. The stems, or pads as they are more commonly known, can range in size from 4 to 12 centimeters (1.5 to 5 inches) in width and 5 to 17 centimeters (2 to 7 inches) in length. Pads can be joined in a branching or linear pattern.
Typically, the plants stretch out on the ground and grow little taller than 19 inches (0.5 meters). Some shrub-like plants in Florida can grow up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) tall.
Areoles, which resemble little dots, are scattered throughout the pads. Each areole has glochids (tiny barbs that hurt and irritate the skin when inserted), and the middle of the areole may or may not have a spine. At the tip of newly formed or actively expanding pads, there may occasionally be a little green structure paired with each areole. These are genuine leaves, but they will soon disappear.
Early summer sees the production of flowers at the ends of the pads. They are typically yellow, although the center of them is frequently crimson to orange east of the Appalachian Mountains and on dunes. In contrast to some other species, including the Indian Fig, Opuntia ficus-indica, the flesh of the reddish fruits is edible but typically not very sweet.
This cactus typically grows on calcareous rock or thin soil in wide-open, arid environments. It grows in or on fencerows, roadsides, prairie, rocky glades, rock outcrops, cliffs, abandoned quarries, and dunes. Well-drained grounds are essential since the roots need to remain dry during the winter to avoid decay.
How are prickly pears obtained?
Fruits that slimes can consume can be found across Far, Far Range’s vast landscape. Prickly pears are one such fruit that can be difficult to find. The Slime Rancher 0.6.0 update included the addition of the fruit.
The Glass Desert, often known as the end-game area in Slime Rancher, is where you can find the prickly pear. You will require a specific number of Plorts to enter the Ancient Ruins, which are located between the Moss Blanket and the Indigo Quarry, in order to get to the Glass Desert. The warp to the Glass Desert is near the end of the ruins, and entry to it requires five Quantum Plorts. You may find detailed instructions here.
Once in the Glass Desert, you can find the Prickly Pear on a variety of trees. Its fruit is oval in shape, purple, and has a few short, green spikes protruding from it. Dervish slimes, which can only be found in the Glass Desert, prefer the prickly pear. These purple slimes can create cyclones that suck up anything in their path and are typically found riding atop whirlwinds. Turbines and generators may receive an energy boost from the plorts in these slimes.
Where can one find prickly pear cacti?
The large, flat, green pads of the Opuntia engelmannii, also known as the Engelmann prickly pear cactus, are a sure sign of its presence.
The 3″ long white spines might be straight, curled, or flat. They are also covered in glochids, which are very tiny, barbed hairs. Each pad has several areoles, which are common central locations from which groups of up to six spines might arise. The golden flowers bloom between May and June. Beginning in July, ripe fruit can be discovered; they are recognized by their vivid red hue.
Prickly pears can be found growing in sandy or gravelly places, along rocky hillsides, around boulders, and in washes.
Prickly pears of the Englemann variety can be found throughout much of the arid southwest, from central Texas through southern California’s interior. Their distribution extends into central Mexico’s Sonora state as well as northern Baja California.
Prickly pear cacti come in a number of various types, each of which has a range of sizes. The Engelmann prickly pear, which may reach a height of 5 feet and a width of 10 to 15 feet, is the most widespread species in the Sonoran Desert.
- This cactus’ crimson fruit, which resembles a pear, is also called as “tuna.”
- Texas’ official state cactus is the prickly pear.
- At the foot of these plants, packrats frequently construct dens, which therefore offer refuge from some of its predators.
The best places to grow prickly pears are?
The house landscape should include drought-tolerant plants. In USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, prickly pear plants make wonderful specimens for dry gardens. In colder regions, prickly pears can be grown in containers that can be brought indoors when the weather turns chilly. The easiest way to answer the question “How to grow prickly pear?” is to provide some background information about the plant.
Prickly pears are they expensive?
Prickly pears are a fruit that Moroccans both adore and detest! Its name is appropriately given given that it is the cacti plant’s fruit and has a prickly exterior. During your Moroccan road journey, you will see an impressive quantity of these prickly pear cacti almost everywhere if you glance out the window.
Despite what its name in Moroccan Arabic, l’hindia (the Indian Fig), suggests, the prickly pear traveled all the way from Mexico to Morocco in the 1770s. It is currently thriving throughout North Africa and is ingrained in the daily lives of its inhabitants.
Moroccans Love and Hate Eating the Prickly Pear
The prickly pear season starts in the beginning of July. There are now street vendors in every region of the nation, in every town and city, and even on the sides of the motorways and major highways! Prickly pears are peeled and sold for around one dirham each. The majority of individuals consume their prickly find immediately, but some take it home and store it in the refrigerator for later. Its pulp can be used to make jams and spreads, but these products will lack the seeds, which are responsible for half of the fruit’s nutritional content.
Like many wonderful things, prickly pears are best enjoyed in moderation. Depending on your digestive system, eating more than 2-3 of these may cause you to get constipated for days, or the exact opposite issue. Yes, there is love and hate.
The Incredible Health Benefits of the Prickly Pear
A considerable portion of the prickly pear is used to make pharmaceuticals and treatments. Its seeds’ oil is used to treat cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, soothes ulcers, lowers cholesterol, and combats obesity.
Although eating a lot of prickly pears won’t entirely heal you (as stated in the warning above), the oil they contain may be beneficial to your health and act as a catalyst for change in the way your body heals. It takes a ton of prickly pears to make only one liter of this priceless oil. Because of this, getting one liter costs roughly 10,000 dirhams, or about $800.
The high concentration of vitamins E, A, and C, Omega 6 fatty acids, and magnesium in superfruits is primarily responsible for their therapeutic and cosmetic effects.
The Prickly Pear in Beauty Care
This oil is regarded as a luxury organic skin care treatment and should be kept in a sacred location when used in a beauty regimen. especially while taking into account the cost! Prickly pear seed oil has proven to be quite effective at halting the negative effects of skin aging. Additionally, it is utilized for feeding, mending, and healing the skin, hair, and nails. Omega 6 and Vitamin E, which are highly desired ingredients in organic cosmetics, are abundant in it. In Morocco’s driest regions, Berber women have been utilizing this oil for decades. Many of them attribute the perfect skin they have despite working hard and being exposed to the sun, heat, and humidity to this miraculous oil.
The Prickly Pear Feeds Livestock
Animals can be fed the interior of cactus leaves since it is very affordable and simple to find. This is especially true in dry locations where it is difficult to find other plants and nutrients. Although it is not particularly high in protein, it is quite hydrating, which is very advantageous given that dehydration is a significant factor in animal fatalities during very dry summers.
The Prickly Pear Industry Empowers Women
Many women in various locations of Morocco have turned the laborious and demanding procedure of removing the seeds from the fruits into a business. These women, who are primarily from underprivileged rural areas, have discovered a financially advantageous buddy in the prickly pear. Around $4 is paid to these ladies for each kilogram of collected seeds. This may not seem like much, but for many rural Moroccan women who are trying to support their families or achieve some degree of financial independence, it is a critical amount of money. Therefore, you might respond, “Maybe not… but it kind of grows on cactus,’ the next time someone tells you that money doesn’t grow on trees. At least it does for these devoted Moroccan women.
About the Author
Meknsiya (a native of Mekns, Morocco) Lala Ouazzani enjoys exploring all that her home country has to offer. She has always loved food. Luckily for her, Morocco has a wide variety of mouthwatering foods to try. She loves learning about the history of her nation and sharing what she learns and experiences with as many people as she can. Casablanca serves as Lala’s current home base.
Are prickly pears toxic?
The Prickly Pear, Peyote, San Pedro, Echinopsis Peruviana, Saguaro, Barrel, Euphorbia canariensis, and Cholla cacti are among the most lethal cacti.
Can you eat the raw pads of a prickly pear cactus?
The lower 48 states of the United States are home to the eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa). In addition to being a lovely plant, it is edible, offers sustenance and safety to wildlife, and can be utilized in natural landscaping.
This cactus is simple to locate, especially in Indiana. The prickly pear features flat, fleshy pads (known as cladodes) covered in spiky spines, similar to other spiny succulents. Showy yellow blossoms are produced by the prickly pear.
How to eat a prickly pear
A red, egg-shaped fruit starts to form after flowering. After removing the skin, the fruits can be eaten raw and are edible. The fruit is frequently converted into jams, candies, and other sweets, and some people even eat the plant’s fleshy pads as a snack.
For thousands of years, the prickly pear cactus has been an essential part of Mexican and Central American cuisine. Prickly pears are becoming more popular as food in various areas of the United States.
The nopal, or cactus pad, which is frequently used as a vegetable, and the pear, or fruit, are the only two edible portions of the prickly pear plant.
What do prickly pears taste like?
Cactus pears have a sweet, rather bland flavor that is comparable to melon. The fruit is not technically a member of the pear family, despite its name. It was merely given that name because the prickly fruit looks and acts like a pear.
Where can I find prickly pears?
In Indiana, such as the Kankakee Sands and the Lake Michigan shore dunes, the prickly pear cactus can be found in open sand and arid places.
Another fantastic location to see Indiana’s sole cactus is the lovely Ober Savanna in Starke County.
Prickly pear in your yard
The fact that this native cactus is challenging to manage is unknown to many who like planting it in their backyards. A single plant can develop into a tangled, dense colony very fast.
The best approach to stop the prickly pear from spreading is to plant it in a pot. Purdue Pest & Plant Diagnostics Lab has a few options to get rid of prickly pear from your property if it is already out of control on the cactus.
When handling this lovely native cactus, be sure to use thick gloves. Their long, thorny spines, which can reach a length of several inches, are the least of your concerns. Glochids are painful and challenging to remove because of their hair-like appearance and decreased visibility.
Prickly pears are they healthy?
Prickly pears include essential elements for healthy blood pressure, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as vitamin C, which is crucial for a strong immune system ( 6 , 7 ). Additionally, prickly pears include a variety of advantageous plant substances, such as antioxidants including phenolic acids, flavonoids, and pigments.
Can prickly pears be grown indoors?
Opuntia species, including prickly pears, are relatively common desert cactus planted as indoor houseplants. They have wide, flat, thick, spine-covered pads on segmented stems that are exceedingly decorative.
Others contain small, hair-like barbs that detach upon contact with the plant, stick in the flesh, and can be challenging to remove, so treat with caution. Some have huge, rounded spines.
The edible, lemon- or plum-shaped prickly pear fruit of several Opuntia species, commonly referred to as “Indian figs,” is becoming into a delicacy in the UK. They are attractive and colorful as well. When fully grown, the meat inside turns orange and the outside turns bright red. When ripe, some types have a yellow outside and a green interior. These are utilized in syrups, preserves, and jellies because they aren’t quite as sweet. However, for plants to grow healthy fruit in the UK, the environment must be ideal.
Prickly pears should be cultivated inside in a conservatory or heated greenhouse with good, all-around lighting, ideally with a south or west facing aspect. In the summer, they require 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.
Although they are not cold- or frost-resistant, they can be brought outside in the summer to a warm, sunny patio. Make sure to bring them inside before the early autumn weather turns chilly.
They require minimum spring and summer temperatures of 18C (65F), however while they are dormant, they prefer colder temperatures of 7-13C (45-55F). Keep them away from radiators, direct heat, draughts, and fans, which can lead to temperature changes.
Prickly pear cactus varieties
Opuntia has more than 200 different species. From low-growing plants that grow to a height of 30 cm (1 foot) to those that can easily reach 5.4 m (18ft).
Opuntia microdasys, sometimes known as bunny ears, is likely the best kind to cultivate at home. Only reaching heights of 30-45cm (12-18in), it has oval pads covered in tufts of tiny, golden spines. But don’t let their diminutive size deceive you; if they get caught in your fingers, these tiny barbs can be just as unpleasant as much larger spines.
Planting prickly pear cacti
They require a compost that is extremely well-drained, just like all other desert cactus, so either add more grit to John Innes Compost or, even better, use a compost that is recommended for cacti and succulents.
To give the compost a natural, finished appearance and to help prevent the plant’s base from lying in wet compost, add a topdressing of gravel, pebbles, or sharp sand on top of the compost.
When working with the plants, be mindful of the spines. It is preferable to wear gloves and wrap a collar made of rolled-up newspaper around the stem when potting up or otherwise moving the plants.
How to care for prickly pear cacti
Many people mistakenly believe that desert cacti don’t require any watering. They can withstand extended droughts by storing water in their stems, but if given enough water, they develop and blossom considerably more effectively. When plants are growing (from March/April to September), water them heavily, but when they are dormant, water them less frequently—once or twice a month may be adequate. Before watering it once more, let the compost somewhat dry out. Never let the pot sit in water; always let the compost drain.
Feed with a balanced liquid feed once a month from late spring to late summer while plants are growing; do not feed in the fall and winter.
Only when it is absolutely necessary, such as when they become very potbound or outgrow their current container, can prickly pears be replanted. Repotting should only be done in late spring or early summer into a larger pot.