Opuntia cochenillifera

De PlantUse Français
Aller à : navigation, rechercher

Opuntia cochenillifera (L.) Mill.

alt=Description de l'image Starr 031108-0183 Opuntia cochenillifera.jpg.
Ordre Caryophyllales
Famille Cactaceae
Genre Opuntia

2n =

Origine : Mexique

sauvage ou cultivé

Français '
Anglais '

Résumé des usages
  • hôte de la cochenille
  • médicinal
  • fruit comestible
  • jeunes raquettes : légume
  • fourrage


Noms populaires

français raquette plate
espagnol nopal chamacuero, nopal de la cochinilla, tuna de cochinilla, tuna España, tunita
portugais palma, urumbeta, cacto, cacto de cochonilha, palma de engorda, palma miúda, palma forrageira, palma doce, palmatória doce, nopal, cardo de cochonilha
créole guyanais raquette, raquette plate [rakèt-plat] (Pharma. Guyane)
palikur iwogbot (Pharma. Guyane)


Opuntia cochenillifera (L.) Mill. (1768)

basionyme :

  • Cactus cochenillifer L. (1753)

synonyme :

  • Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm-Dyck (1850)




Frequently cultivated in tropical and subtropical America, also in the Mediterranean, Canary isl., tropical Africa, India and SE Asia. The plants have been distributed mainly as ornamental plants but also because they have been used as host plants for the cochineal insects (Dactylopius coccus) used for the commercial production The dye can be used as a natural colouring of foods, for soft drinks and many cosmetics (including lipsticks). For this use other species of the genus have been and are of greater importance, e.g. Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. var. splendida Roland-Gosselin and O. tomentosa Salm-Dyck. They tolerate these insects much better and thus give a higher production. Like other host plants for the cochineal insects, O. cochenillifera had the Aztec name of "nopal". In the 18th cent. the area of cultivation was increased. With the invention of synthetic dyes the cultivation area decreased since the end of the 18th cent. But recent demands for natural dyes, (synthetic ones have been linked to cancer) resulted in new interest in the cochineal dye. O. cochenillifera is also an important hedge plant and the cladodes are used for forage and fodder. The fruits are edible. Fruits and cladodes are applied in folk medicine.



  • Grenand, Pierre ; Moretti, Christian ; Jacquemin, Henri & Prévost, Marie-Françoise, 2004. Pharmacopées traditionnelles en Guyane. Créoles, Wayãpi, Palikur. 2e édition revue et complétée. Paris, IRD. 816 p. (1ère éd.: 1987). Voir sur Pl@ntUse.