Indian fig grows wild on the Pricky Pear Cactus. The Opuntia species has more than 200 varieties. The cactus and fruit have similar qualities regardless of particular variety.
The highly recognizable cactus plant has fruit that is edible. The pears are covered in spines, so cleaning the fruit is extremely important. Indians rolled the cactus figs on sand to lose the spines. Modern harvesters use blowtorches to remove the spines and cook the fruit.
Prickly pears are found in cookies, candies, jelly and cactus drinks including vodka. Distilleries in Mexico produce colonche which has been popular for centuries.
Prickly pears grow quickly in otherwise barren areas. In Australia, a variety is used as a natural barrier along property lines.