The prickly pear

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

The cac­tus that grows wild on cliffs be­side the Mediter­ranean is most likely a species of op­un­tia, or prickly pear. They are made up of what look like oval plates, jointed to­gether in se­ries, and cov­ered with spines. They have pretty bright-yel­low flow­ers.

But this is where their pleas­ant side ends. They do have ‘nor­mal’ cac­tus spines, but they also have masses of tiny barbed hairs called glochids, which are al­most in­vis­i­ble, and get into your skin and cause pro­longed painful ir­ri­ta­tion.

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