A rich desert fruit.
The prickly pear was sacred to the Aztecs for its tasty flesh, but also for its properties as a medicinal plant. The cactus’s expert qualities when it comes to dealing with the heat make prickly pear extract an excellent ingredient in our Sun Care range.
A spiny water tank.
The spiny green pads of the prickly pear are not leaves, but shoots that store water. They are still able to photosynthesise, however, so serve as the plant’s leaves, branches and trunk all in one. The prickly pear’s actual leaves have been modified into spines. Anyone who wants a bite of the sweet fruits has to get through these first.
Gift of the gods.
The Aztecs were already aware of this plant’s special properties. They worshipped the prickly pear as a divine plant and gave it the name “nopal”. They also used the fruits to make a highly potent drink, which was served at sacred festivals.
Always ready to root.
Every shoot, the fruits and even the flowers of the prickly pear can grow roots – and require no rain to do so. This enables the plant to absorb even the smallest amounts of moisture from the cool night air, for example, and to form new shoots.
Locking in moisture.
Cacti have found their own clever way of preventing water loss during the heat of the day: they close up their pores and ‘hold their breath’ until the air gets cooler or more humid. These plants therefore only exchange gases at night – the optimal energy-saving technique!
Bright and healthy.
The bright colour of prickly pear flesh is due to its high content of natural pigments. These have an antioxidant effect, helping to protect cells and organs such as the skin and the kidneys as well as blood vessels.