Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 22nd, 2013

Prickly pear cactus fruit

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Prickly Pear Tuna 4796

Late summer is a time to remind you that the edible fruits of the prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmanniii, which turn a rich red or magenta when they ripen at this time of year, are called tunas.* I don’t know what caused the dark mark near the base of this one, but I do know that the photograph is from a jaunt to the west of Morado Circle in my Great Hills neighborhood of Austin on August 22nd, exactly one month ago today, the official beginning of fall. Happy autunal (au-tuna-l or autumnal, take your pick) equinox to you.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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* In a post a couple of years ago I noted that the prickly pear kind of tuna came into English from Spanish, but Spanish acquired it from the Taíno people of the Caribbean. Their word for the cactus fruit survived; they themselves didn’t.

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 22, 2013 at 6:07 AM

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