Prickly pear cactus close up with fruit in red color, cactus spines. - stock photo

A cactus (plural: cacti, cactuses, or cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae within the order Caryophyllales. Almost all cacti are succulents. The word “cactus” derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek κάκτος (kaktos), a name originally used for a spiny plant whose identity is not certain  

Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves. As well as defending against herbivores, spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade  
Prickly Pear    
Opuntia spp.
Cactaceae (Cactus Family) 

1..Prickly pear is a large cactus with flattened, mostly spiny stems that produce deep red, juicy and sweet fruits 

2..The prickly pear plant has three different edible sections: the pad of the cactus (nopal), which can be treated like a vegetable, the petals of the flowers, which can be added to salads, and the pear (tuna), which can be treated like a fruit.Also called the cactus pear, this unusual fruit is egg or pear shaped, three to four inches long, and covered with sharp spines 

3..Some species of prickly pear have beautifully colored pads like purple prickly pear (Opuntia violaceae santa-rita) Its Edible fruit is also called cactus pear and Indian fig. The color purple becomes more pronounced in purple prickly pear cacti with cold temperatures cactus.Opuntia Ficus-Indica is a Species of Cactus With Tasty and Delicious Fruit.Most of the
Prickly Pears tend to grow in cluttered ‘clumps’ and are sometimes used as a sort of natural fencing, quite effective one would imagine.  

4..Medicine and other uses. Prickly pear pads also have very useful medicinal applications, and the dietary value of the immature pads, or nopalitos,  Here are some of the historic and modern uses of nopales  
5..Prickly pear cactus is used for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, alcohol hangover, colitis, diarrhea, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It is also used to fight viral infections. 
6..  Strengthen Bones and Teeth,Calcium is crucial not only for the development but also the ongoing maintenance of bones and teeth. This mineral helps prevent osteoporosis, too.

7..Prickly cactus is often made into jam or jelly. it can help cut the risk of both cancer and heart disease  

8..The International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition” reports that prickly pear cactus is a good source of several important minerals. Calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus are among them. The prickly pear seed contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid with numerous health benefits.

Prickly pear cactus can cause side effects, including mild diarrhea, nausea, increased stool volume, increased stool frequency and abdominal fullness, for some people.

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