Performance of Cactus Pear [Opuntia ficus-indica (L

Author(s): Pareek OP, Singh RS,Vashishtha BB


One hundred nine cactus-pear clones collected from within India and from the USA, Israel, and Argentina are being evaluated. In pot studies on 47 clones received from Texas, sprouting occurred in 24 to 135 days and produced 1 to 6.5 new cladodes per plant in different clones. The weight of cladodes varied from 66.8 g to 1300 g. Higher cladode yield was owing to more cladodes per plant in clones 1376 and 1458 and, as a result of greater cladode weight in clones 1378, 1383, 1384, 1387, 1392, and 1439. Size, shape, and thickness of cladodes also varied in different clones. Only three clones (1269, 1270, and 1271) flowered three years after planting, but fruiting was observed only in clones 1270 and 1271. Four to five fruits of 60 g to 80 g were produced per plant. The indigenous cactus pear types produced smaller fruits (30 g to 40 g), which matured during the winter (December). Clone 1308 proved to be a promising vegetable type. Curry prepared from its tender cladodes had good acceptability to the Indian palate. Planting of cladodes in the east-west direction at 5-cm depth proved better than planting in the northsouth direction. Pitcher irrigation resulted in quicker sprouting, more cladodes per plant, and better plant growth than the basin system owing to better soil moisture conditions for a longer period in the former. Additive effect of N (25 g per plant) fertigation also was observed.

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