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Tuna, or Prickly Pear Cactus

Indian fig

Cactaceae Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.; O. tuna Mill.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

The two species of cacti listed are rather widely grown for their fruits in home gardens and small commercial plantings in southwestern U.S.. They are more extensively grown in Mexico and Mediterranean countries. Plants attain a height of 10 or more feet, with woody, cylindrical trunks, and joints up to 18 inches. Fruits are 11/2 to 2 inches in diameter, covered with a medium thick, spiny rind. Spines are usually rubbed off before picking. Peel separates from the flesh readily, and is removed before the edible pulp is consumed.

Season, bloom to harvest: 4 to 8 or more months.

Production in U.S.: No data. Possibly 100 tons commercially.

Use: Fresh eating mainly.

Part of fruit consumed: Inner pulp only.

Last update June 27, 1996 bha