Opuntia Cactus

Opuntia or Prickly Pear Cactus in English or “Tuna Cactus” in Aruba can be easily recognized by their flat paddle shaped stem segment that grows on top of one another.  The paddles are called cladodes and are covered with easily detached spines.  The Opuntia flowers are typically yellow to pinkish and cup shaped.  The rounded pericarpel later becomes a fruit and usually turns red.  The fleshy fruit is edible and often turned into candies and jelly.  The cladodes (paddles) are sometimes eaten as a vegetable.  The cladodes can be sliced open and used as a medicinal plant.