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Opuntia ficus-indica has minute leaves and bright yellow or orange showy flowers appear from October to December. The yellowish, turning reddish, edible fruit is covered with minute spines.

The spiny form of Opuntia ficus-indica was declared a category 1 weed, which neccesitates its control, or removal and destruction if possible. No trade or planting of prickly pear is allowed, with the exception of  fruit if used for human consumption. However, all spineless cultivars and selections (commonly known as Cactus Pear) are exempt from this legislation, and may be cultivated without legal objections.​​