Drooping Prickly Pear
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Drooping Prickly Pear
aturalized Photo: Sobhapati Samom
Common name: Drooping Prickly Pear, Cochineal Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig • Hindi: नाग फनी Nag phani • Tamil: Sappattukkalli • Telugu: Nagajemudu • Oriya: Nagophenia • Nepali: नागफनी Naagaphani, पाते सिउंडी Paate Siundi, हात्तीकान Haatteekaan
Botanical name: Opuntia monacanthos    Family: Cactaceae (Cactus family)
Synonyms: Opuntia monacantha, Cactus indicus, Opuntia deflexa

Drooping Prickly Pear is a cactus native to South America, commonly planted as a hedge plant in India and naturalized in waste ground. Flowers are golden yellow, 8 cm across, with outer ovate green sepals and inner spatula shaped yellow petals. Stem is branched from the base, 2-3 m, usually with thick oblong joints, 30 cm long. Stems are bright green with long needle-like spines up to 5 cm long. The species name monacantha means with one spine, alluding to the fact that spines generally occur singly, unlike many other species where spines appear in the groups of 2-4. Leaves are dark brown, slightly recurved. Fruit is pear-shaped, deeply depressed at the top, reddish when ripe, covered with tufts of barbed hairs. Flowering: May-August.

Identification credit: Supriya Saha Photographed in Imphal, Manipur & Ratangarh, Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.

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