Opuntia spp.
Prickly pear cactus
Season: Blooms: opportunistic, dependent on moisture
Habitat: dry climate and gravelly soil
Edibility: succulent but seedy fruits are edible once the spines have been scorched or carefully peeled off with a sharp knife
Flavor bland to sour or sweet
Cooked pickled candied
Medicinal uses: treat wounds burns, contusions, warts, to facilitate childbirth
Oily juice useful emollient and demulcent, external use to soothe dry irritated skin or internal use as a diuretic or anti inflammatory agent for the digestive and urinary tracts
Juice may be effective in lowering blood sugar in cases of juvenile onset diabetes, particularly where chronic hyperglycemia prevails