The prickly pear
The prickly pear, whose Latin name is Opuntia ficus indica, is a succulent plant native to South America, now widespread in the wild in much of the Mediterranean area. It likes sunny, very bright places, and a sandy and very well drained soil, free of stagnant water. It can stand planting in the garden only in areas with mild winters: the plant can withstand temperatures well below zero, but only if they are somewhere completely dry during the winter. So if you live in an area with cold winters you should cultivate your opuntia in a pot, or place it in an area where in winter it will not get water from the rain or snow. The flowers are large, and give rise to edible fruits, covered with thin sharp spines.