Prickly pear is the fruit of the «prickly pear cactus», which grows in hot countries and is also sold there. Sometimes you can meet our stores. It grows in bunches. The fruit has a pleasant taste, but its bones are very large and hard. And quite a lot of them. These are the bones I sprouted, and we will plant one of them and see how it grows. A week later, such a delicate pink sprout appears.
Cotyledon leaves completely without spines. Here they are gradually opening up to the sun, but this is only if you water the plant well. Because, although it is a cactus, in the early stages it requires abundant watering. Otherwise, the plant may simply disappear. The leaves gradually open up and after about a week in the middle such a prickly forelock begins to appear — this is the cactus itself, as we are used to seeing it, appears. Now you will see.
See, it’s already there. A young cactus has very thin delicate spines, but an adult plant grows very powerful, up to 2-4 meters tall and has such powerful spines, which is rather unpleasant when growing this cactus and collecting its fruits. Stems in adult plants have an oval-flattened shape, they branch.
Leaves are present only on young shoots. They are green cylindrical, reminiscent of thorns. In this plant, you can already see such green leaves at the very top. The shape of the stem also gradually changes and becomes so elongated and flattened. This plant is native to Mexico.
It was cultivated by the ancient Aztecs, who considered the plant sacred and used it for food, as well as for the treatment of diabetes. It is believed that the plant reduces cholesterol and blood sugar, has a good effect on the digestive system and promotes weight loss.
Where does Opuntia cactus grow?
Currently, this cactus is cultivated in many hot countries for its delicious fruits, and is also used in herbal medicine. It is grown in the Mediterranean countries, as well as in Ethiopia, Chile, Brazil, Egypt, in the same Mexico.
You can eat both raw fruits and prepare various dishes from them, for example, sweet jam and preserves, or use them as a vegetable, unripe. The stems of the plant are also edible and are used as a vegetable.