Dictionary > Opuntia

Opuntia

Definition
noun
(botany) A genus of cactaceous plants belonging to the family Cactaceae, such as the prickly pear, Indian fig opuntia, or polka-dot cactus
Supplement
Opuntia is a genus of the family Cactaceae. The name of this genus is derived from the Ancient Greek city, Opus.1 Members of this genus typically have flat, rounded cladodes which may be armed with large, fixed spines or small, hairlike glochids. Glochids may detach from the cactus and then penetrate the skin where they cause skin irritation.
An example of species of this genus is the Indian fig opuntia, O. ficus-indica. It is also called prickly pear although the name is also used to refer to other Opuntia fruits. The Indian fig opuntia is an essential domestic crop for its edible fruit (called tuna). Its fruit is used to make jams and jellies, and in Mexico, it is used to make colonche (an alcoholic drink).
Another is O. microdasys commonly called bunny ears cactus or polka-dot cactus. It may grow to 40 to 60 cm in height.
Word origin: Latin Opuntia (herba)
Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Subfamily: Opuntioideae
  • Tribe: Opuntieae
  • Genus: Opuntia Mill.

Other common name(s):

  • prickly pear
  • See also:

    • cactus
    • Indian fig opuntia
    • polka-dot cactus

    Reference(s):

    1 Quattrocchi, U. (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. III M-Q. CRC Press. p. 1885.


    You will also like...

    Cell Respiration
    Cell Respiration

    Cell respiration is the process of creating ATP. It is "respiration" because it utilizes oxygen. Know the different stag..

    complete-dominance
    Dominance

    This tutorial presents Gregor Mendel's law of dominance. Learn more about this form of inheritance and how it can be pre..

    Adaptation Tutorial
    Adaptation Tutorial

    Adaptation, in biology and ecology, refers to the process or trait through which organisms or the populations in a habit..

    Ecological Research Measuring & Analysis
    Ecological Research: Measuring & Analysis

    This lesson is about the methods used for ecological research, such as quadrat and transect sampling, canopy fogging, an..

    green leaf - close up view
    Leaves

    Leaves are the major photosynthetic organ of a plant. Apart from that, they are also crucial to water movement. In this ..

    human brain structure
    The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

    This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..

    Related Articles...

    No related articles found

    See all Related Topics