|Barbary fig Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Opuntia monacantha|
|Origin||South America – Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil|
|Colors||Yellow to reddish purple|
|Shapes||Obovoid, 5–7.5 × 4–5 cm|
Opuntia monacantha is a fast growing shrubby or tree like cactus which reaches to the height of 20 feet with short trunk upto 8 inches in diameter. The stem segments are oblong to obovate which is tapered towards the base, has irregular margin upto 12 inches long and 5 inches wide. Spines are slender, brown, grey and unequal upto 1.6 inches long. Flowers are yellow to deep orange-brown having reddish outer perianth segments upto 3 inches and 4 inches wide. Fruits are reddish purple, pear shaped upto 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
The shrub is erect, succulent with shallow fibrous roots but can reach 4 meters. Stems are grey green to light green. The one main stem is woody at base having many side branches which is made up of fleshy, glossy green, jointed, obovate, oblong or oblanceolate segments upto 45 cm long by 15 cm wide and 1.5 cm thick. Leaves are small and scale like form beneath areoles. Flowers are 6 cm in diameter borne on margins of segments. Fruits are obovoid, 5–7.5 × 4–5 cm and green which turns yellow to reddish purple. Seeds are smooth, irregularly elliptic, 4 × 3 mm, pale brown which is embedded in reddish and pulpy flesh.
It is used to treat diabetes, bronchial asthma, burns and indigestion.
It is used in jellies, juices, teas, candies, alcoholic drinks.