Common & Scientific Names of Cacti & Other Succulents


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Information Brochure






Opuntia Cactus

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State Plant TEXAS

TCC Membership




Texas Cactus Council



Building A Productive Future

For Cactus



The Texas Cactus Council offers various types of memberships to suit each individual's needs. The different memberships available are as outlined:

  1. Active membership with voting privileges in the organization limited to individuals, partnerships or corporations or use of prickly pear cactus and it's by-products.

  2. Sustaining membership without voting privileges is limited to businesses which are associated with some phase of prickly pear production, utilization or the manufacturing or marketing of cacti products.

  3. Professional membership without voting privileges shall be limited to employees of state and governmental institutions that are involved in prickly pear education, culture, utilization or research.

  4. Associate membership without voting privileges shall consist of persons interested in prickly pear education, culture, utilization or research.

  5. Student membership without voting privileges shall consist of students interested in prickly pear education, culture, utilization or research.

All members are invited to attend our monthly and annual meetings and share in all the privileges of membership except voting privileges, which is reserved for Active members only. We encourage anyone interested in the future of cactus to get involved today and be a part of the future of cactus and its products for tomorrow.

The purpose of the Texas Cactus Council is to benefit its members through educational programs and research designed to promote all aspects of the development and production of prickly pear and other cacti.

We shall assist our members with new and innovative ways to utilize the many benefits of cactus products and inform our members of various methods of marketing as the demand for these products continue to grow.

It is the goal of the council to compile and distribute to its membership any scientific information we deem useful and worthwhile to the development of usable cactus and cactus by-products. Some examples of these include developing effective methods of weed and pest control, or the stabilization and reclamation of damaged ecosystems.

The Texas Cactus Council shall assist its members in all aspects of growing and harvesting of cactus and its by-products for all types of commercial and agricultural uses. The council works with the development of different species of cactus for various agricultural purposes. The council will inform its members of the different species available and the differences and benefits of species so members can make an educated decision as to the varieties most suited to their needs.

The council provides input to the research and development of equipment, machinery and supplies necessary for each phase of harvesting successful cactus products. Some of the many phases include the preserving and processing of theses cactus products, and the storing, packaging, shipping and handling of all types of cactus products and by-products.

The Texas Cactus Council holds monthly meetings at various locations around the south Texas area. The council works to bring informative speakers with valuable information to cactus producers. Each month brings new speakers on different topics. Each of our members is mailed a monthly newsletter highlighting the events at our monthly meetings and informing members of future meetings and special events. Some of the topics of interest have included reports from international doctors on various health and medical benefits of cacti. Growers and importers have come together to discuss, outline, and take an active role in directing the future of the cactus industry, as we know it today. Our International Conference also includes a cooking competition where chefs from different backgrounds bring their favorite cactus recipes and compete in different categories of competition. Prizes are awarded to the best recipes in each category. The Texas Cactus Council publishes many of these award-winning recipes in its annual cookbook. We hope with this cookbook we can educate the public while sharing the many new and exciting ways to prepare the prickly pear leaves and fruit.


The Benefits of Cactus Farming

Tender cactus leaves (nopalitos) are nutritious substitutes for green beans, okra, squash, and bell pepper. Its top production occurs in the summer months when other vegetable plants are out of season.

Cacti have many potential benefits and uses. These include an excellent clothing dye (cochineal), a natural dye from the fruit for cosmetics, and a gel base of hair shampoo. Also, the cacti pear fruit and the tender leaves contain natural healing properties which makes it a healthy food for diabetics to eat.

As the urban population increases, cacti will take its place in the landscape market because its low water requirements conserves precious water supplies.

The major use of cacti in the past has been for fruit, vegetable, animal forage and wildlife food. This native plant with a spiny reputation has been waiting for increased research and development to prove its numerous potential capabilities.

Growing cacti on a market production scale is essential for its evolution as an alternate crop.

Hopefully, cactus can take its place along with other native plants such as corn, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes as a recognized crop.

Opuntia Cactus

The Farming Opportunity

Of The New Century

As mother nature takes center stage in the 2000's, farmers in the American Southwest have an opportunity to cultivate a crop which both protects and celebrates the wonders of our precious environment. Unfortunately, this new cultivar-prickly pear cactus-usually seems to be more of a problem than a solution to the sophisticated farmer. However, a look back to the ancient ways of the earliest American gatherers and a look south of the Rio Grande at progressive Mexican farmers has prompted some Texas farmers to reconsider this prickly plant.

Beneath the prickly pear's spines lies a plant which thrives in the drought conditions that wither more traditional crops. The tender, juicy cactus leaves are a tasty, nutritious food for the American table, as well as succulent forage for the cattle and the wildlife which suffer in the summer's heat. The prickly pear ( Opuntia ) cactus is a native plant that knows the ways of our land. It can beautifully adorn our lawns and effectively reclaim our damaged land without making unbearable demands on precious water supplies. This cactus also offers natural dyes and bases for those in the cosmetics and clothing industries seeking alternatives to artificial substances.

A choice to cultivate the Opuntia cactus is a choice to work in harmony with nature and a choice to meet the demands of the 2000's for foods and products which enhance health without squandering resources. Those who share this emerging vision will find that just as the thorns guard the beauty of the rose, the threatening spines serve only to protect the secret wealth of the Opuntia cactus.


Texas Cactus Council Application for Membership

Please print Application and mail with check

Payable to:

Texas Cactus Council

Box 423

Benavides , TX 78341










PHONE: ( ) _____________________________


Type of Membership : $___________

•  Active $20.00

•  Associate $10.00

•  Sustaining $75.00

•  Student $5.00


•  Cookbook $15.00 $___________

 Total Amount Enclosed $___________

For More Information you may contact any of people listed below:

Emma Martinez
319 CR 469
Alice, Texas 78332

Minnie Salazar
PO Box 611
Hebbronville, Texas 78361

J. T. Garcia
PO Box 423
Benavides TX 78341
(361) 256-3571