Edible Cactus - Knowledgebase Question

N. Olmsted, OH
Question by KShea
September 25, 1999
My husband and I frequest a Mexican restaurant and one of his favorite dishes features cactus. What species/cultivar of cactus would that be and do you have a place where I can purchase them? I do have a recipe and would like to grow my own cactus.


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Answer from NGA
September 25, 1999

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There are several types of Opuntia, or prickly ear, cactus that are edible and used in Southwest and Mexican cuisine. Since hardiness varies, be sure the type you choose is hardy in your region. At least one variety, O. compressa, is hardy to zone 4.

You can purchase Opuntia cactus from Oregon Exotics Nursery (ph# 541-846-7578). Double check with them about the hardiness of various species. This nursery specializes in exotic fruits, nuts, and vegetables--their catalog is fascinating!

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