Create a 5 pages page paper that discusses opuntia humifusa: the devil’s tongue. The plant is a low-growing and reclining plant that absorbs enough water during the rainy season and stores it in the succulent pads for use in the dry seasons. These fleshy pads are the stems of the plant and are ovoid-shaped with sharp needle-like spines along the surface that are biologically the modified leaves to help the plant reduce the loss of water into the atmosphere. These pads have clusters of thorn-like leaves that are very sharp. This is an adaptation to ride away animals that feed on the fleshy pads. The prickly pads earn the plant the name ‘devil’s tongue’ (Hahm, Park, & Son, 2011). The plant grows on the dry rocky area of limestone glades in open fields. The natural seed distribution method is through the small mammals and birds that eat the Opuntia fruit and excrete the seeds in different locations.

Opuntia humifusa is not native to most of the American States. The plant was brought into the habitat through displaced small mammals from Southern Canada. The succulent pads of the plant and the melon-like fruits are a great attraction to many mammals. They eat the fruits and then disperse the seeds to other areas where favorable conditions of moisture and warmth lead to germination and growth. Further, the pads, once buried in the ground and with favorable climatic condition tends to germinate and propagate themselves (Anderson et al., 2001).

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Opuntia humifosa has a cultivation history in South Korea where it was used as a traditional natural coloring agent as well as a remedy to stimulate the immune system. It is one of the largest genera in Cactaceae, with almost 250 species. It exhibits the widest distribution of any genus in family Cactaceae, occurring from Canada to Argentina and in habitats ranging from tropical to subtropical dry forests, moderate deserts, and even temperate forests. Opuntia also has been introduced throughout the world for use as a foodstuff for humans and animals and as ornamentals. While apparently strange in temperate regions, this&nbsp.fascinating cactus still conveys with it some of the habits of its desert-dwelling relatives. The plant still prefers sunny and sandy conditions and flowers from June to July.

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