Opuntia flower for SC Davidson
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I've posted this shot for Azleader (SC Davidson) cause I inspired him for a theme!|
Well, hope You'll all like it!
Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian Fig Opuntia) is a species of cactus and a long-domesticated crop plant important in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world. Indian Fig Opuntia is grown primarily as a fruit crop, but also for the vegetable nopales and other uses. Most culinary references to the "prickly pear" are referring to this species. The name "tuna" is also used for the fruit of this cactus, and for Opuntia in general (according to Alexander von Humboldt, it was a word of Haitian origin taken into the Spanish language around 1500).
Opuntia ficus-indica is a crop species that figures prominently in the modern folklore of ethnobotany. Opuntioid cacti are recognized as ideal crops for arid regimes because they are extremely efficient at converting water into biomass. Opuntia ficus-indica, one of several long-domesticated cactus species, is the most widespread and economically important of these cactus crops, as important as corn and tequila agave in the agricultural economy of modern Mexico. The facile hybridization of Opuntia is very well documented; this genus is among the most interspecifically promiscuous plants, perhaps rivaled only by Quercus (oak) in this regard. The relative ease of vegetative propagation of Opuntia is demonstrated by its occasional clonal dominance of certain areas. This aspect of Opuntia marks it as a noxious weed in some places. This ease of clonal propagation was probably not lost on the very early human population of the New World. Evidence exists for the use of Opuntia as human food at least 9,000 years before the present or even as early as 12,000 years ago, probably before cultivation.
Opuntia ficus-indica is used in numerous ways. In modern times, first and foremost, O. ficus-indica is grown for the large, sweet fruits, called tunas, which are available in local and commercial markets worldwide. Important tuna-growing regions include Mexico, Sicily, Algeria, Chile, Brazil, and northern Africa, as well as in Eritrea and Ethiopia where the fruit is called beles (Ge'ez: በለስ). In addition, the young cladodes (stem segments) of O. ficus-indica are harvested as Nopales, a vegetable crop. Although this crop is less valuable worldwide than the fruit crop, vegetable products of O. ficus-indica are available in many local and commercial markets. Various other uses have been reported for O. ficus-indica, including as a binding and waterproofing agent in adobe.
Opuntia ficus-indica (along with other Opuntia and Nopalea species) has been grown from pre-Columbian times as a host plant for cochineal insects (Dactylopius coccus) for the production of valuable, vivid red and purple dyes. It is used to make Tungi Spirit on the island of Saint Helena.
Medicinal properties of O. ficus-indica have been documented as early as 1552 - including use as a hangover cure (see source at bottom of page). Recently, extracts for the cactus pear fruit has shown to possess antioxidative properties and can cause reduction of DNA damage in human peripheral lymphocytes. This extract has become a potential source of raw material for pharmaceutical and functional food industries.
The shoots of O. ficus-indica have been shown to contain at least some mescaline.
Early European botanists (often referring to Pliny or Theophrastus) called this cactus Ficus indica, although some found this to be an unsuitable name, as the plant did not resemble the Indian fig (possibly Ficus benghalensis) already known. Carolus Linnaeus published Cactus opuntia and C. ficus-indica in Species Plantarum. Miller combined these into Opuntia ficus-indica in 1768. In the recorded history of the Old World, O. ficus-indica was certainly known at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and it is believed that this species accompanied Christopher Columbus in his first return to Lisbon in 1493, placing O. ficus-indica in the Caribbean by at least the late 1400s, although it is not native there. The plants are also recorded in cultivation in Tlaxcala, Mexico in 1519. Opuntia ficus-indica fruits and shoots were also reportedly consumed by the Maya of southeastern Mexico. There is also some evidence for the use of O. ficus-indica by the Nazca of Peru, placing these plants in South America at a very early date. Other workers maintain that this taxon was unknown in pre-Columbian South America. The succulent, ever-fresh cladodes were certainly a novelty to late fifteenth century and later Europeans and were widely included in ships’ stores as insurance against scurvy. This practice is thought to have contributed greatly to the present naturalized range of Opuntia ficus-indica throughout arid and semi-arid habitats of the world. This widespread propagation (intended and unintended) throughout the Mediterranean obscured the geographic origins of this species; many early European botanists regarded this cactus to be native, as reflected in Cactus opuntia (i.e., spiny plant from near Opus, Greece). This Mediterranean naturalization may now be conceived as complete, as the Israelis of the mid twentieth century often adopted the (believed-indigenous) sabras as a symbol of their struggle (and humanity) in adverse desert conditions.
Recent DNA analysis indicates that O. ficus-indica is a crop domesticated from ancestral stock of arborescent, fleshy fruited plants growing in central Mexico. From this center of origin, O. ficus-indica cultivation likely spread through trade amongst the peoples of Mesoamerica. One artifact that indicates the value of prickly-pear as a trade item is the Codex Mendoza, which depicts Aztec tribute rolls. This codex includes a representation of Opuntia cladodes amongst other items such as ocelot and jaguar skins. This is the only early colonial period representation of Opuntia as a possible trade item, although the plant is often depicted in such codices outside of this context. Cochineal dye, for which Opuntia cultivation is required, is also depicted as paid tribute to the Aztecs.
From Mesoamerica, these plants were introduced into Cuba, Hispaniola, and other Caribbean islands, where early European explorers first encountered the plants. It seems conceivable that these plants were also brought to South America in pre-Columbian times, although their early presence in Peru is disputed; there is evidence that the pre-Columbian Incas certainly cultivated cochineal, however.
Species: O. ficus-indica
Patleboss, nglen, Juyona, fiyo, XOTAELE, Alex99, Silvio2006, dejo, azleader, ramthakur, haraprasan, uleko, jcoowanitwong, boreocypriensis, mesquens, jpdenk, xTauruSx, rousettus, zulfu, bahadir has marked this note useful
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- [2008-01-16 11:37]
Ciao Ena,la foto e' perfettamente esposta al sole,un vero capolavoro in nitidezza e contrasto,e poi le note sono fin troppo esplicative,un gran lavoro,complimenti,Luciano
very nice macro shot, I like very much small grains of pollen, splendid colors with beautiful lightinh,
- [2008-01-16 12:46]
Hi Ena. I am sure he will like it . Its beautiful and you have captured it so well. with your sharp focusing and fine detail. rich clours and good use of the light. well done TFS.great notes too.
- [2008-01-16 13:40]
color y compo,
- [2008-01-17 1:14]
Just marking this wonderful post from you and will return with a proper critique. Sorry friend.
- [2008-01-17 8:45]
Very nice close up.POV,lighting,details,colors,exposure and framing are great.TFS
Una completísima nota acompañando a esta preciosa y colorida flor de la tunera.
Un hermoso trabajo Ena.
Muchos saludos, JL.
- [2008-01-17 10:25]
So colorful and full of light picture of the nice flower of cactus. I like perfect details of the plant and flowers, fine rich colours and sharpness. Well done and TFS.
Ciao Ena, splendida foto dai brillanti colori, molto ben composta e di grande nitidezza, bellissima, molto brava, ciao Silvio
- [2008-01-17 12:50]
fantastic cactus flower, Ena,
the photo and the information is very good I like it, good photojob. Have a good evening.
Wow! I feel honored you'd upload a picture for me. :) Thanks...
What is neat about this picture is that you took it in Croatia but it is indistiguishable from the Opuntia photographed in the Sonaran desert of the United States. It is also neat that you included a pod just after the flower has withered away but before the fruit has matured.
Here is something you might not know...
The spiny platelets of this cactus can also be cooked and eaten. They are very tasty and make an excellent side dish in a meal. They are like green beans if you've ever eaten them and more nutricious.
Take care, have fun!
Very beautiful composition with this cactus flower and plant, Ena.
Your extensive note throws ample light on the subject. It makes an interesting reading.
May I suggest you make sure you remove unnecessary words from your note after pasting it from the source? They look awkward.
- [2008-01-18 0:29]
prelijepa slika, svidja mi se kompozicija, boje su odlicne
super efekat daju detalji polena na laticama
dobar 3d efekat
A lovely capture of this cactus flower. Fine details and very well composed. Thanks a lot for sharing.
nice close up, TFS Ori
- [2008-01-18 9:47]
What a beautiful capture of this flower of the Prickly Pear! Beautiful light and colours and details are very sharp. I like your composition too. Well done!
TFS and have a nice weekend, Ulla
- [2008-01-18 18:36]
Vivid colored flower you present us with. The details are good and I like the pollen dust on the petals alot, thank you for sharing Ena.
Beautiful red cactus flower. Nice seeing both flower and fruit. Sharp and well seen image. Very well done.
Realy nice capture, vivid colors of a cactus flower. In Cyprus we are eating its fruits and we named its "Babutsa". May be you heart before. TFS. Greetings, Bayram
Very good macro shot, nice flower, good details.
Very interesting Note.
Bonito conjunto aunque algo subida"" la iluminación .
Abrazo: J. Ignasi
Wonderful shot! TFS. Regards, Deniz
a great macro for Opuntia. Excellent details and focus. Great lighting and superb colors. Nicely composed. Thanks a lot for sharing. best wishes
- [2008-02-21 3:11]
Nice close-up capture. Beautifull flower with excellent details. TFS. Regards,
Another perfect shot, lovely composition and super frame. TFS.
I must say the white balance has done its job very well. Generally, with RED color, the camera sensor fails to identify the exact temperature of color.But this has turned out pretty decent. Aperture F11 could have got the cacti in focus as light seems good.