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...

    Adaptive Radiation
    Adaptive Radiation

    The diversification of several new species from a recent ancestral source, each adapted to utilize or occupy a vacant ad..

    Sensory systems
    Sensory Systems

    A sensory system is a part of the nervous system consisting of sensory receptors that receive stimuli from the internal ..

    Physical growth
    Physical Development in Humans

    This tutorial elaborates on the physical development of humans, particularly from puberty to adulthood. Read this tutori..

    Physiological Homeostasis
    Physiological Homeostasis

    Homeostasis is essential to maintain conditions within the tolerable limits. Otherwise, the body will fail to function p..

    running freshwater community
    Running Water Freshwater Community Factors

    This tutorial noted some of the physical and chemical factors that provide the framework of a running water community in..

    Still freshwater and plants
    Still Freshwater & Plants

    Plants in lentic habitats have features not found in terrestrial plants. They acquired these features as they adapt to t..

    Related Articles...

    No related articles found

    See all Related Topics