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Opuntia nigrans
Pear cactus

Opuntia marnieriana, Prickly pear cactus


Opuntia marnieriana, Prickly pear cactus

This is the largest and most widespread genus of cacti, numbering more than 200 species and occuring in the wild from southern Canada almost to the southern tip of South America, as well as the West Indies and Galapagos Islands.
They range from tiny prostrate plants with tuberous roots to trees over 30 ft (9 m) tall. The branches are constricted at regular intervals to form joints that may be broad and flattened or cylindrical and sometimes covered in tubercles.
All have small, fleshy leaves at the growing tips that usually fall off soon after they appear.
Most of the species have sharp spines (sometimes barbed) as well as small bristles that are extremely hard to remove from the skin, so care should be taken to position these plants away from areas where children or animals play.
The flowers are generally yellow or red, sometimes quite showy, and are followed by edible fruits (prickly pears), which range in shade from green to yellow to red.
Several species have become serious pests in some warmer countries, the worst being Opuntia stricta in Australia and South Africa early in the twentieth century; their spread was eventually checked by biological control, using the cochineal insect and the cactoblastus moth.
Flowering colors: Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow
Cultivation: These plants thrive in hot, dry conditions in moderately fertile, gritty, humus-rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Propagate from seed or detached joints .