Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.

First published in Gard. Dict., ed. 8.: n.° 2 (1768)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Mexico (Oaxaca). It is a succulent shrub or tree and grows primarily in the seasonally dry tropical biome. It is has environmental uses and social uses, as animal food and a medicine and for fuel and food.

Descriptions

Distribution
Biogeografic region: Andean. Elevation range: 1300–2600 m a.s.l. Cultivated in Colombia. Naturalised in Colombia. Colombian departments: Antioquia, Bogotá DC, Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Santander.
Habit
Shrub, Small tree.
Conservation
IUCN Red List Assessment (2021): DD.
Ecology
Habitat according IUCN Habitats Classification: savanna, shrubland, artificial - terrestrial.
Vernacular
Chumbera, Higo chumbo, Nopal, Tuna
[UPFC]

Cactaceae, R. Hunt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
Shrubby or arborescent, up to 4(–5) m. tall, often with a cylindrical trunk.
Morphology General Spines
Joints elliptic to narrowly obovate, flattened, often 30–40 cm. long, 15–20 cm. broad, 1–1.5 cm. thick, greyish-green; glochids yellow, deciduous; spines usually none, sometimes 1 or more, up to 1.5 cm. long, bristle-like.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subulate, 3–4 mm. long, early deciduous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 5–8 cm. in diameter; perianth spreading, yellow or orange, longer than the style and stamens.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary cylindrical, 3.5–5 cm. long, with many areoles, the upper bearing bristles up to 1.5 cm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit ellipsoidal or obovoid, 5–9 cm. long, 3–6 cm. in diameter, variable in colour, with edible pulp.
Habitat
Roadsides and by rivers; grasslands on pumice dust
Distribution
presumably native to America but not known wild therewidely cultivated and naturalized around the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, in Africa and Australia. Cultivated in Niarobi (Dec. 1948, Bally 6558 in C.M. 13559!) and reported as very common and spreading rapidly around Naivasha (Lucas 278) K3 K6
[FTEA]

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

Vernacular
cacto, higo, penca de Castilla, tuna
[UNAL]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/151706/121563254

Conservation
DD - data deficient
[IUCN]

Extinction risk predictions for the world's flowering plants to support their conservation (2024). Bachman, S.P., Brown, M.J.M., Leão, T.C.C., Lughadha, E.N., Walker, B.E. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nph.19592

Conservation
Predicted extinction risk: not threatened. Confidence: confident
[AERP]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 1300 - 2600 m.; Andes.
Morphology General Habit
Arbusto, arbolito
[CPLC]

The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

Ecology
Alt. 1300 - 2600 m.
Distribution
Cultivated in Colombia.
Morphology General Habit
Shrub.
[UPB]

Cactaceae, R. Hunt. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1968

Morphology General Habit
Erect or sprawling shrub up to 3–4 m. tall, sometimes with a definite cylindric trunk.
Morphology General Spines
Joints usually narrowly obovate, flattened, 10–30 cm. long, 5–12 cm. broad, bright green; areoles densely and shortly woolly; glochids brownish; spines 1–2 per areole (–12 on trunk), stout acicular, up to 7 (–10) cm. long, 1.5 mm. in diameter, one generally conspicuously longer than the other when present, greyish, dark-tipped.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves subulate, 2–3 mm. long, early deciduous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 5–7.5 cm. in diameter; outer perianth-segments yellow, striped or shaded red, inner golden yellow, widely spreading.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit obovoid, 5–7.5 cm. long, 2–4 cm. in diameter, glochidiate, spineless, reddish-purple, with edible pulp.
Figures
Fig. 1, p. 4.
Habitat
Bushland, coastal bluffs, roadsides; often planted to make fences; 0–1650 m.
Distribution
K4 K6 K7 T1 T3 T6 Z native of South Americawidely introduced elsewhere, notably in South Africa and India where it was commonly used in the cochineal dye industry
[FTEA]

Uses

Use Animal Food
Used as animal food.
Use Environmental
Environmental uses.
Use Fuel
Used for fuels.
Use Gene Sources
Used as gene sources.
Use Food
Used for food.
Use Materials
Used as material.
Use Medicines
Medical uses.
Use Social
Social uses.
[UPFC]

Use Environmental Ornamentals
Live plant (in situ) - Ornamental (Granados-Tochoy et al. 2007).
Use Food
Infructescences - Edible fruit (Granados-Tochoy et al. 2007).
Use Materials
Materials (State of the World's Plants 2016).
Use Materials Unspecified Materials Chemicals
Materials (State of the World's Plants 2016).
Use Medicines Unspecified Medicinal Disorders
Medicinal (Instituto Humboldt 2014).
[UPB]

Common Names

Spanish
Penca, higo chumbo, chumbera, nopal, tuna.

Sources

  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
  • Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible

    • ColPlantA 2021. Published on the Internet at http://colplanta.org
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • 'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • IUCN Categories

    • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Science Photographs

    • Copyright applied to individual images
  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia

    • ColPlantA database
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Useful Plants of Boyacá Project

    • ColPlantA database
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/