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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonOpuntia ficus-indica
Family common name(s)cactus
Genus common name(s)opuntia; prickly-pear cactus; prickly pear cactus; pricklypear cactus; prickly-pear; prickly pear; pricklypear; true prickly-pear; true prickly pear; prickle-pear cactus; prickle pear cactus; pricklepear cactus; prickle-pear; prickle pear; nopal; tuna; tuna cactus
Species common name(s)mission prickly-pear; mission prickly pear; mission pricklypear; mission cactus; mission-fig cactus; mission tuna cactus; mission tuna; rancheria prickly-pear; rancheria prickly pear; common tuna cactus; common tuna; nopal tuna; nopales cactus; nopales prickly pear; nopal prickly pear; Barbary-fig; Barbary fig; Barbary fig prickly-pear; Barbary fig prickly pear; Barbary fig pricklypear; Barbary-fig cactus; Barbary fig cactus; smooth mountain prickly-pear; smooth mountain pricklypear; smooth mountain prickly pear; cactus pear; tuna mansa; tuna de Castilla; nopal de Castilla; tuna de España; higo chumbo
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxatuna cactus, spineless tuna, sweet prickly-pear, sweet pricklypear, sweet prickly pear, smooth prickly-pear, smooth pricklypear, smooth prickly pear, tuberous prickly-pear, tuberous pricklypear, tuberous prickly pear, tree prickly-pear, tree prickly pear, spiny pest pear, pest pear are applied to multiple Opuntia taxa; cactus-apple, cactus apple, spineless cactus are applied to multiple Cactaceae taxa
Common name(s), rejectednot recommended: Indian-fig, Indian fig, Indian-fig prickly-pear, Indian-fig prickly pear, Indian-fig pricklypear, Indian fig prickly pear, Indian-fig opuntia, Indian fig opuntia, Indian pear
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcOpuntia megacantha Salm-Dyck, misapplied
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