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Vegetable IPM Updates Archive
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If You Can’t Beat them, Eat Them (August 7, 2013)

Many of the plants that are now regarded as weeds were brought here or introduced for landscape or food many years ago and now grow wild. Some, however, are natives and have been here for thousands of years. One of the native plants that is currently in season and available in grocery stores and farmers markets is the prickly pear cactus. They grow wild and in abundance here and throughout arid regions of the western hemisphere.

Prickly Pear is one of over 200 species of the Opuntia genus and Cactaceae or cactus family. The most common edible species is the India fig opuntia(O. ficus indica). It has been a staple of the Mexican and Central American diet for thousands of years. It has 3 edible parts; the pad or nopal which is peeled and treated like a vegetable, the pedals which are used in salads and the “pear” which is used as a fruit. “ Nopales “ are thought to be good for treating diabetes, high cholesterol and hangovers. The following video is a demonstration on how to peel the pads. Please click HERE to watch the video.

Click picture to listen to Barry video link

To contact Barry Tickes go


For questions or comments on any of the topics please contact Marco Pena at the Yuma Agricultural Center.
College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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