Ripe prickly pear fruit

Ripe prickly pear fruit
cobalt123 / CC BY-NC-SA

I tried a prickly pear or tuna fruit a couple of times when I was young. The red flesh of the fruits I tasted were tart and strong, a most overpowering flavour, but what what fascinated me the most about them was to see them being plucked off a cactus. Tuna fruit grow on paddle cactus (opuntia) and to to see something come off a seemingly barren desert plant, and be so colourful and flavourful, was an unexpected experience.

That’s not completely unexpected, I guess, when you consider how much the dark red fruits stand out from the pale green of the parent cactus plant. The prickly pear truly is a blossoming fruit of the desert, calling out to the creatures of the sands to come and taste and spread the seed within. This is quite the wonder of nature and I never tire of seeing pictures of this strange little red desert fruit.

Tuna Cactus Apple Fruit

Bloodied Readhead Mime
cc licensed flickr photo shared by stevendepolo

There are no colours as intense as those found in nature, and there are no patterns or textures as complex and chaotic as those in nature. The deep red innards of this cactus apple are a prime example of both. The detail of that flesh is mesmerising, and that makes this photo both appetising (cactus apples can be very tasty), and hypnotic. The plain white background highlights the effect.