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Opuntia ficus-indica

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA CARYOPHYLLALES CACTACEAE

Scientific Name: Opuntia ficus-indica
Species Authority: (L.) Mill.
Common Name(s):
English Tuna Cactus, Indian-fig
Spanish Nopal de Castilla

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-05-01
Assessor(s): Arreola, H., Ishiki, M. & Terrazas, T.
Reviewer(s): Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
Justification:
The original range and hence the wild population of this species is unknown, therefore its wild status cannot be assessed and is listed as Data Deficient although it is an extremely widespread (as a result of introductions) and abundant (because of cultivation programmes and its invasive characteristics) species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has a long history of use in Mexico, the species was domesticated in pre-historic times, hence its natural range is unknown. The species has been introduced to many countries around the world as an ornamental, for animal fodder and for its fruits for human consumption.
Countries:
Native:
Mexico
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Given that it is impossible to established which are wild populations, it is impossible to know the species' population size.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Uncertain but probably dry semi-arid shrubland.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Widely cultivated for human use for its fruits, stems, "pads" and as animal fodder. The whole plant is also harvested and dried into a powder for medicinal use to treat diabetes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Given that it is impossible to determine which are wild populations, it is not possible to determine the threats to this species, if any.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is an invasive species in many parts of its introduced range and hence occurs in many protected areas.

There are ex situ germplasm living collections of this and other Opuntia species to ensure that the genetic integrity of the species is conserved.

Citation: Arreola, H., Ishiki, M. & Terrazas, T. 2013. Opuntia ficus-indica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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