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Uses

Toxic parts

The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Pads - cooked or raw[2]. Watery and very mucilaginous[3]. The prickles on the skin must be carefully removed before eating the pads. The young pads can be split lengthways then dried and stored for winter use[2].

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[2]. Sweet and gelatinous[3]. Lean and insipid[4]. The unripe fruits can be added to soups etc, imparting an okra-like mucilaginous quality[5]. The fruit can hang on the plant all year round[6]. Be careful of the plants irritant hairs, see the notes above on toxicity. The fruits of O. imbricata are dry, about 3cm in diameter and usually free of spines[1][7].

Seed - briefly roasted then ground into a powder[8]. It is also used as a thickener[8].

Fruit

Leaves

Material uses

The fruit is chopped into small pieces, boiled and then the fibre and seed is filtered out. The resulting liquid is used as a mordant for dyes[7].

The thorns have been used as a sewing material and for tattooing[2]. The dried stems have been used as candles and torches[2].

The following notes are for O. ficus indica. They almost certainly also apply to this species[K].

A gum is obtained from the stem. It is used as a masticatory or mixed with oil to make candles[9]. The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky. It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Opuntia imbricata.

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter. Cuttings of leaf pads at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Opuntia imbricata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a sandy or very well-drained soil[6]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7.5[1]. Plants must be kept fairly dry in the winter but they like a reasonable supply of water in the growing season[1]. A position at the base of a south-facing wall or somewhere that can be protected from winter rain is best for this plant. Requires warmth and plenty of sun. Plants tolerate considerable neglect. This species is fairly cold tolerant and can succeed outdoors in a selected site in the milder areas of the country[1].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Opuntia imbricata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Opuntia imbricata.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Opuntia imbricata
Genus
Opuntia
Family
Cactaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
low
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
?
Mature Size
3 x meters
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type











References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.52.6 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.2 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.2 Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
  7. ? 7.07.17.27.3 Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.2 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
  10. ? 10.010.1 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
  11. ? McGregor. R. L. & Barkley. T. M. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 070060295x (1986-00-00)