Thursday, September 3, 2009

Opuntia

Like all true cactus species, the genus Opuntia is native only to the Americas. There are about 200 species known as Prickly Pears or Nopales (Mexico) and some adapted quite well to the portuguese climate. These plants have had an important role in Native American cultures in medical use, as an intoxicant, in dye production and also in the mexican cuisine, as many are edible, both plant and fruit (a Nopal can be found in the Coat of Arms of Mexico).
The smaller pics show two species of 'figs'.

26 comments:

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

JM, these are great photos for today and I like the collage. I too posted a cactus today, a crested saguaro caused by fasciation. I know how you love your cacti!

brattcat said...

This is a day rich in cacti. Nice shots, JM, particularly the one with the blue sky behind, highlighting the globes and spines.

Sharon said...

JM, great photos of beautiful plants. I love these cacti. They are so colorful and full of great texture. Everytime I see one in full bloom, I'm tempted to photograph it every bit as much as I'm tempted to photograph a flower!

Prospero said...

Hi JM. We have several Opuntia species growing in Bermuda.

Good catch on the lizard shot - it's the peeling bark of a Cherry guava.

Jarart said...

These are very pretty,JM. And the history was interesting.

willow said...

They are amazing. Something we don't have in my neck of the woods.

Lois said...

I just got through visiting Julie's cactus and now I see these! They are beautiful.

siva // ശിവ said...

It is a great photo....

Vogon Poet said...

Like the palm trees you posted some days ago, even these are quite regular stuff here, but without your variety of fruits.
We call it “fico d'India”, literally Indian fig.

Babzy said...

beautiful plants !

Asta said...

Hello JM,

Very beautiful.

I wonder if you make jam of these cacti fruits like they do at the Canary Islands?

Best regards
Asta

AB said...

They have adopted very well to Southern Spain, as well, where they call them "chumbos"

Marie-Noyale said...

I saw some in a Spanish food store the other day.

Joan Elizabeth said...

In Australia prickly pear became a major environmental weed until they also imported a moth that somehow keeps them under control.

I see you have my favourite pic as your new header

joo said...

Beautiful photos JM. I know the fruit mainly from supermarkets but haven't realised that the plants are so superb:)

Jacob said...

Fascinating. Do you know how these plants were brought to Portugal?

I hope you were careful when photographing them - you wouldn't want to back into one of those prickly pears!

Anzu said...

A photo of the Head
let me feel that summer passed.

The Cactus is Cheerful ♪
in both a Hot season and a Cold season.

Virginia said...

Ahhh our prickly friends have found there way to you ??? Enjoy!
And your banner is oh so wonderful. Order us a cold glass of white wine, JM. I"m on my way over!!!
V

Anya said...

Super shot from the cacti,
and lovely to see that little lizard :)

Julie said...

Further to the comment from Joan Elisabeth. The bug was the cactoblastis and it cut a swathe through the prickly pear which was the bane of my childhood on a sheep farm. The thorns would stick deep into the sheep causing much pain and loss of sheep. My brothers and I were charged with the yucky task of spraying the pp to eventually make it shrivel up and die. We were infested with both prickly pear and tiger pear. Most unpleasant.

Cezar and Léia said...

Very informative and beautiful post!Have you ever tried , I mean about the taste, I think it could be like some pepper?
Thanks for sharing all information!
Léia

Jim K said...

I love the colors in your shots. Green is my favorite.

Laurent said...

It looks like Mexico to me !

Cristóbal said...

We call those fruits, "tunas" here. They adapted really well to the North of Chile.

Small City Scenes said...

I have an Opuntia--It grows quite well in this wet climate---as long as its roots down't stay wet for long. It never has blossomed and probably never will because it doesn't get hot enough. MB

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