Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill, usually named prickly pear or nopal cactus, is the Cactaceae plant with the greatest economic relevance in the world. It is a tropical or subtropical plant, native to tropical and subtropical America, which can grow in arid and semiarid climates. Prickly pear is mainly known by its fruits, popularly named “tunas” or “figs,” but their cladodes are also consumed, principally in Mexico, which is the country with the largest cultivated area and the largest producer. There is ample evidence of the health benefits of prickly pear: it shows high antioxidant activity, it is a source of nutrients and vitamins and it presents medicinal uses, among others. Furthermore, prickly pear presents other uses, including cosmetics, biofuel production, animal nutrition and soil phytoremediation.
Part of the book: Invasive Species