Out of all the cacti I've photographed, I have to say Opuntia are one of my personal favorites (although I can never choose JUST one). So designing a Jewelry Collection and Enamel Pin inspired but this genus HAD to happen!
The colors of the paddles blush from greens, blues, pinks, and purples, and when they bloom, they become INSANELY beautiful! I knew a bit about this genus but wanted to do a 'lil more research.
Here's what I found!
- Commonly called "prickly pear" cactus
- Cacti, in general, are a symbol of strength, endurance and determination as they often withstand extreme weather conditions and can survive with very little water.
- Like Echinopsis, Optunia includes a huge amount of cacti species which makes it confusing to identify specific varieties. But I find that most have paddle-shaped segments which make it a bit easier to identify in general!
- They hybridize very easily so that is part of why it's so confusing to identify them. One species blends into the next!
- They bear edible fruit (called tuna) that can be found as some farmers markets and grocery stores.
- The genus is named for the Ancient Greek city of Opus, where, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew and could be propagated by rooting its leaves.
Here are some more photos I've taken over the years of what I "believe" are Opuntia! Sometimes it feels like you can never be 100% sure!