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  Opuntia humifusa var. humifusa.jpg  Prickly pear MN 2007.JPG  Opuntia 01.JPG Opuntia humifusa-IMG 4244.jpg  Caryophyllales - Opuntia humifusa 1.jpg

 

NAME: Prickly Pear

SPECIES / FAMILY:  Opuntia Compressa or Humifusa / Cactaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): Eastern Prickly Pear

CONDITIONS: sun, dry
 

PARTS:

EDIBLEcid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves/ pads

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

mucilaginous

RAW/COOK

 

Buds/Flowers

       

Fruits

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

sweet/jello-like

RAW/COOK/DRY

all year

Roots

       

Seeds

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

 

   

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

 

 

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

 

PORTION: small

 

COMMENT: Fruit is gelatinous. The fruit can hang on the plant all year round. Pads are watery and very mucilaginous. Seed - briefly roasted then ground into a powder. It is also used as a thickener. (1)

 

CAUTION: The thorns are not the only problem. “The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort.” (1)

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-880/prickly-pear-cactus ALSO: Pectoral;  Poultice;  Warts.  A poultice of the peeled pads is applied to wounds, sores etc. The juice of the fruits is used as a treatment for warts. A tea made from the pads is used in the treatment of lung ailments.(1)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES:  Gum - The following notes are for O. ficus indica. They almost certainly also apply to this species. A gum is obtained from the stem. It is used as a masticatory or can be mixed with oil to make candles. The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky. It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls. (1)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Opuntia+compressa
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/cactus-dont-be-spineless
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_humifusa
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/09/prickly-pear.html  (good photos)
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_humifusa (good photos)
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/prickly-pear-recipes
  7. http://hercheyk.blogspot.com/2016/08/prickly-pear-lemon-bars.html
  8. https://practicalselfreliance.com/prickly-pear-jelly
  9. http://perudelights.com/prickly-pear-juice-jugo-de-tuna