Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly pears are a subgroup of Opuntia, identified by their wide, flat, branching pads, and are often called nopal cactus or paddle cactus. Most varieties have a combination of detachable spines and tufts of barbed bristles (glochids) that can cause significant allergic skin reactions. The pads, flowers and fruit of most varieties are edible after careful cleaning. As the plants prepare for winter, pads may begin to look shriveled and wilted, but they will green up quickly in spring.
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