All In a Name
Tuna is the Spanish word for the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. This cactus is well known for its colorful blooms which come in shades of yellow, orange, peach, and red. When the blooms fade, the sweet fruits or tunas develop. The pads, also known as nopalitos, are edible as well - once the spines have been removed. Both of these items can be found at local grocery stores.
A Growing Presence
Although native to the region, the cactus is more common now than in the past. The spread of prickly pear at Palo Alto is the result of decades of activities such as cattle ranching and ground clearing.