What is the plant
Opuntia ficus-indica is a species of cactus that has long been a domesticated crop plant grown in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid areas. Likely having originated in Mexico, it is the most commercially important cactus.
Common English names for Opuntia ficus-indica and its fruit are Indian fig opuntia, Barbary fig, cactus pear, and spineless cactus, among many. In Mexican Spanish, the plant is called nopal, while the fruit is called tuna, names that may be used in American English as culinary terms. Fig opuntia is grown primarily as a fruit crop, and also for the vegetable nopales and other uses. Most culinary references to the "prickly pear" are referring to this species. The name "tuna" is also used for the fruit of this cactus, and for Opuntia in general; according to Alexander von Humboldt, it was a word of Taino origin taken into the Spanish language around 1500.
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