Prickly pear is a pervasive cactus species in Florida. It thrives in the hot and humid climate of central Florida. In this close-up photo, you can see the pink cactus buds preparing for flowering. I took this photo just off the southern end of the Ream Wilson Trail, which lies just north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Photo taken on July 1, 2014.
Researchers from the University of South Florida have found prickly pear cactus’s mucilage to be a natural water purifier. The thick gum produced by the cactus could capably filter 98 percent of the bacteria Bacillus cereus from the polluted water, as is revealed in their researches. The extract causes the sediment and bacteria to settle at the bottom. Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida in Tampa led these researches.
The cactus, also known as Opuntia, is native to the Western hemisphere and it typically grows with rounded platyclades armed with spines (See above image). However, gradually, it is growing all across the globe. So, if ever the theory goes practical, clean water will be within everyone’s reach.