Opuntia ficus-indica

Prickly pear                                                                                                Φραυκοσυκιά

Cactaceae - cactus family                                                                                          Dicot.


Prickly pears are the commonest and most frequently cultivated cactuses in the world. Their origin is central and south America and it is said that they were brought back to Lisbon by Christopher Columbus. The plants were ideally suited to the hot dry  climate of the Mediterranean and are cultivated in Greece for their tasty sweet, juicy fruits. They quickly become established and naturalise freely, sometimes becoming invasive.

The term prickly pear was once used only for the fruit but is now used for the whole plant. It was formerly called Barbary fig or Indian fig, reflecting confusion about its origin.

Opuntia - the name given by Linnaeus after the ancient Greek town of  Opunte, where as reported bt Theophrastus, a plant grew from a fleshy leaf planted in the soil

ficus - as the fruit was thought to resemble fig & indica as Columbus thought he had landed in India

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