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Useful Temperate Plants

Opuntia leucotricha

DC.

Cactaceae

+ Synonyms

Consolea leucacantha (Link & Otto) Lem.

Nopalea angustifrons Lindb.

Opuntia durangensis Britton & Rose

Opuntia erythrocentron Lem. ex C.F.Först.

Opuntia fulvispina Salm-Dyck ex Pfeiff.

Opuntia lanigera J.Parm. ex Pfeiff.

Opuntia leucacantha laevior Salm-Dyck

Opuntia leucotricha fulvispina F.A.C.Weber ex K.Schum.

Opuntia pailana Weing.

Opuntia pyriformis Rose

Opuntia rufescens Salm-Dyck ex C.F.Först.

Opuntia subferox Schott ex Pfeiff.

Common Name: Nopal Duraznillo

No Image.

General Information

Opuntia leucotricha is a spiny, evergreen, succulent, much-branched tree-like cactus forming a large crown from a distinctive trunk; it can grow 3 - 5 metres tall[
1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..
].
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for its good quality fruit and also as a local source of fuel[
2000
Title
Genome sizes and ploidy levels in Mexican cactus pear species Opuntia (Tourn.) Mill. series Streptacanthae Britton e
Publication
Genet Resour Crop Evol (2007) 54:1033-1041
Author
Segura S. et al
Website
http:// 10.1007/s10722-006-9196-z
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Opuntia leucotricha is common and widespread. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2020)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Opuntia leucotricha has the potential to become a weed in semi-arid regions. It has become naturalized in various countries, including Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Known Hazards

The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids - these are barbed spines that are usually small to minute and are very sharp and brittle. The glochids are very easily dislodged when the plant is touched and can penetrate the skin where, because of their barbs, they become stuck and are very difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable irritation and discomfort[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].
Opuntia species can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, especially in older parts of the plant. Perfectly alright in small quantities, foods containing oxalic acid should not be eaten in large amounts since it can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
,
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].

Botanical References

1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..

Range

Southern N. America - Mexico (Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas)

Habitat

Xerophyllous scrub and matorral[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height4.00 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Opuntia leucotricha is native to subtropical and tropical semi-arid regions of Mexico. It has also become naturalized in the Mediterranean climate of various countries, including Italy, Portugal and Spain.
In cultivation, Cactus plants generally will not succeed in moist climates. They usually require a sunny position in a well-drained, circumneutral soil and to be kept more or less dry in the dormant season[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The mature fruit is persistent on the plant, it has been observed to remain on the cladodes for 12 months or more in edible condition[
2006
Title
Morphological diversity of xoconostles (Opuntia spp.) or acidic cactus pears: a Mexican contribution to functional f
Publication
Fruits, 2012, vol. 67, p. 109-120
Author
Gallegos-Vázquez C. et al
Website
http://10.1051/fruits/2012001
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
 
]

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Of good quality[
1990
Title
Cacti Biology and Uses
Publication
 
Author
Nobel, Park S. (Editor)
Publisher
University of California Press; Berkeley, California
Year
2002
ISBN
0-520-23157-0
Description
A lot of information about the uses and cultivation of Cacti native to central Mexico
]. The aromatic, sour pulp of the fruit is edible, but difficult to remove from the rind[
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1438
Title
Food Plants in the Americas: A Survey of the Domesticated, Cultivated, and Wild Plants Used for Human Food in North,
Publication
 
Author
Kermath B.M.; Bennett B.C.' Pulsipher L.M.
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
 
Description
A pre-publication draft of an amazing, on-going work first started in 1985. It contains information on more than 3,900 taxa from the Americas - from Arctic regions to the Tropics
]. The fruits of this and several other Opuntia species are known as 'xoconostles' in Mexico, where they are valued for their more acid flavour and are often consumed, though more as a vegetable and flavouring than as a raw fruit[
2001
Title
Uses of Opuntia Species and the potential impact of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera; Pyralidae) in Mexco
Publication
Florida Entomologist 84(4) pp 493-498 2001
Author
Vigueras A.L. & Portillo L.
Publisher
 
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
2002
Title
Physicochemical variability and nutritional and functional characteristics of xoconostles (Opuntia spp.) accessions
Publication
Fruits 70 (2015) 109-116
Author
Hernández-Fuentes A.D. et al
Website
http://10.1051/fruits/2015002
Publisher
 
Year
2014
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. A common recipe is to slice and mix xoconostles with tomatoes, onions and hot peppers. Adding diced xoconostle to salsas gives them a special zesty acidic flavour, whilst they can also be used as a base for refreshing drinks[
2006
Title
Morphological diversity of xoconostles (Opuntia spp.) or acidic cactus pears: a Mexican contribution to functional f
Publication
Fruits, 2012, vol. 67, p. 109-120
Author
Gallegos-Vázquez C. et al
Website
http://10.1051/fruits/2012001
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The globose, white to purple fruit is around 40 - 60mm long[
1987
Title
The Cactus Family
Publication
 
Author
Anderson E.F.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland, Oregon
Year
2001
ISBN
0-88192-498-9
Description
An excellent work, giving botanical descriptions of virtually all the cacti, together with their range (but not their habitats) and sometimes also a photo. it also contains a long chapter detailing the many uses of cacti and another on cultivation..
].

The tender young stem segments of various species are often cooked as a vegetable[
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Known as ‘nopals’ in Mexico, where they are a common ingredient in numerous dishes, they can be eaten raw or cooked, used in marmalades, soups, stews and salads. The most commonly used species are Opuntia ficus-indica or Opuntia hyptiacantha (syn Opuntia matudae), although the stems of almost all Opuntia species are edible[
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
2001
Title
Uses of Opuntia Species and the potential impact of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera; Pyralidae) in Mexco
Publication
Florida Entomologist 84(4) pp 493-498 2001
Author
Vigueras A.L. & Portillo L.
Publisher
 
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Medicinal

We have no specific information on medicinal uses for this species, but the following notes are likely to apply universally to Opuntia species and other related genera[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The flesh of tender young stem segments can be applied as a poultice to reduce inflammation[
411
Title
Trees and Shrubs of Mexico
Publication
Contributions from the United States National Herbarium Vol 23
Author
Standley P.C.
Publisher
Smithsonian Institution; Washington
Year
1926
ISBN
 
Description
Although dated, it contains a wealth of information on the trees and shrubs of Mexico, including many of their uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The mucilage and soluble fibre found in the flowers and stem segments have been shown to help control blood-sugar levels associated with adult-onset diabetes[
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].
There is clinical evidence that the soluble fibre in the stem segments helps reduce blood cholesterol levels[
1999
Title
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Publication
 
Author
Phillips S.J. & Comus P.W.
Publisher
University of California Press; Los Angeles, California
Year
2000
ISBN
0-520-22029-3
Description
 
].

Other Uses

The plant is a source of fuel, used for cooking etc[
1990
Title
Cacti Biology and Uses
Publication
 
Author
Nobel, Park S. (Editor)
Publisher
University of California Press; Berkeley, California
Year
2002
ISBN
0-520-23157-0
Description
A lot of information about the uses and cultivation of Cacti native to central Mexico
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2022-11-27. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Opuntia+leucotricha>

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