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Alphabe Thursday … P is for Prickly Pear (Opuntia)

September 6, 2012

I know little about these rather brutish weeds that grow on the side of the road here up the mountain.  I have of course conducted a little research which I will not regurgitate now. ‘Thank goodness’ I hear you say.  
However they are for me a little emblem of my newfound love of the Americas.

They were I believe introduced to Europe from Mexico; where they are a rich resource for food, alcohol and medicine. In the 18th century in Europe they were used in gardens as an exotic feature and as agricultural fencing.  Also it was used as an attempt to establish the cochineal dye industry.  
However they did become an invasive weed; in some farms it formed an impenetrable jungle.

For me they are just weird.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2012 7:10 am

    yes, but they make a great subject for photos! 🙂

  2. September 6, 2012 11:50 am

    A friend of mine eats these little pears, although I did
    try them cooked I was not a fan of them… they do make
    beautiful plants…
    nice photos

    • September 6, 2012 12:01 pm

      She is very daring I have not tried them … Thanks for kind comments xxx

  3. September 6, 2012 7:07 pm

    I’ve seen these – and taken photographs 😉 – when I was in Greece! Nice shots!

  4. September 7, 2012 7:22 pm

    We just moved from Tucson to coastal Georgia, leaving MOST of the Prickly Pear behind. There are a few cacti in Georgia, however.

  5. September 8, 2012 4:33 am

    In UK we Cacti are not the norm and so when I see them I think of the exotic places or cowboy films I remember as a child. Either way they are wonderfully evocative.

  6. littlebitquirky permalink
    September 8, 2012 7:11 am

    Really cool looking!

    • September 8, 2012 8:46 am

      Yes I have grown to love the prickly things … on the edge of society !

  7. September 13, 2012 9:01 pm

    I am not a fan of prickly pears, myself.

    There is a huge field of them close by with bright red fruit all over them.

    I keep thinking I should ask the owners if I could harvest some to make jelly…but the whole process sounds particularly painful with all those spikes!

    Thanks for a fun link to the letter ‘P’.


    • September 13, 2012 10:08 pm

      Oh Jenny you are so exotic … fabulous, maker of dreams …I haven’t tasted one; just the look was enough and you have them in your back garden 🙂

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