Ethnobotanical Dictionary
Prickly pear cactus

Opuntia caracasana

It is a species that grows between the northern region of South America and Panama. Because of the plant´s thorns, Mrs. Petra Isabel Muñoz planted it at the edge of her garden in La Palomera, to protect her ornamental and fruit plants from people trying to take the fruits or pull out branches. It is a fleshy plant, 1 to 3 m. high, with many ramifications. The leaves are ovate-elliptical, rounded at the apex, pale green and measure 10 to 25 cm. long by 8 to 13 cm. wide. The thorns are 4 to 5 cm. long, and often appear in groups of 3, but also up to 4 or 5 when they are young. Yellow-pink and orange flowers with ovoid petals bloom during the day of 5 to 7 cm. long. Its fruits are red, peripheral, without thorns. Propagation occurs by the detachment of its leaves. It requires sunny, warm places with sandy or light soils.

Applications:

It can be used as an ornamental plant and as a barrier to protect areas from some animals.

Opuntia caracasana