Like yesterday’s Actinidia deliciosa photograph, today’s picture features an important food crop. Opuntia ficus-indica, commonly known as Barbary fig, prickly pear or Indian fig, is grown throughout arid and semi-arid regions of the world as both a sweet fruit crop (tuna) and a vegetable crop. Like Oryza sativa (rice), Opuntia ficus-indica is a cultigen.
The USDA PLANTS database has a number of images of prickly pear, if you’d like to see a specimen image of the plant. I chose to focus on the spines in this photograph taken in Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in March.
For a fascinating read, learn about cochineal, a crimson dye extracted from Dactylopius coccus, an insect feeder on Opuntia species.