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.