Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various cacti having edible stems, especially the prickly pears.
  • noun The fleshy, oval, edible pad of such a cactus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One of several cactaceous plants which support the cochineal-insect. See cochineal, Nopalea, and Opuntia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A cactaceous plant (Nopalea cochinellifera), originally Mexican, on which the cochineal insect feeds, and from which it is collected. The name is sometimes given to other species of Cactaceæ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A prickly pear cactus from the genus Opuntia, especially Opuntia cochinellifera.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun cactus having yellow flowers and purple fruits
  • noun any of several cacti of the genus Nopalea resembling prickly pears

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[American Spanish, from Nahuatl nohpalli.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish nopal, from Nahuatl nopalli ("Opuntia cactus"). Compare nopales.

Examples

  • The nopal is a versatile and healthy vegetable both cooked and green.

    Nopales, tunas and pitayas

  • The edible nopal is actually the young, tender branch of a prickly pear plant.

    Nopales, tunas and pitayas

  • The edible nopal is actually the young, tender branch of a prickly pear plant.

    Nopales, tunas and pitayas

  • The nopal is a versatile and healthy vegetable both cooked and green.

    Nopales, tunas and pitayas

  • (The nopal is the cactus-like plant with roundish flat appendages full of stickers).

    Creations In Silver - By Dona Eva Martinez

  • (The nopal is the cactus-like plant with roundish flat appendages full of stickers).

    Creations In Silver - By Dona Eva Martinez

  • Her team has focused on the prickly pear cactus, or nopal, which is widely found in dry regions of Mexico, the western U.S., and the

    Livescience.com

  • The nopal is a food source with a thousand - and-one uses, and a staple of the

    INTER PRESS SERVICE

  • Students in the program spend two to 2½ hours each morning observing techniques, learning about ingredients such as nopal cactus and chiles mecos, and participating in the preparation of regional favorites like mole poblano and chiles en nogada.

    Intrepid cocinero

  • Students in the program spend two to 2½ hours each morning observing techniques, learning about ingredients such as nopal cactus and chiles mecos, and participating in the preparation of regional favorites like mole poblano and chiles en nogada.

    Intrepid cocinero

Comments

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  • "Even the most dedicated naturalists' observations were not always complete or correct. In the case of cochineal, the omissions and errors began with Fernandez de Oviedo himself. In his Historia natural (1526), he presented Europe with its first detailed description of the nopal cactus, but failed to mention cochineal at all. Nine years later, in his more extensive Historia general (1535), he described how he had once eaten the nopal's juicy fruit, only to have his urine turn blood-red soon afterward. 'I believed without a doubt that all the veins of my body had broken,' he wrote. He was greatly relieved when a more experienced friend explained that the fruit was harmless."

    Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire (New York: Harper Collins, 2005), 129.

    October 5, 2017