Prickly pear (Opuntia)
Opuntia is a widespread genus of about 200 species that extends through most of North, Central, and South America. Prickly pears are popular in cultivation, grown for their unusual pad-like stems, colorful flowers, and fruit. Most species are very easy to propagate, growing readily from stem cuttings. Many are cold-hardy, found at high latitudes or high elevations, but others are restricted to warm areas. Some species are popular indoor plants for sunny exposures. All prickly pears can tolerate drought, but some can grow with high levels of moisture. Opuntia ficus-indica is the most common source of edible prickly pear fruit. However, this species and other Opuntias are noxious weeds in Australia and in other arid parts of the world.