removing glochids from prickly pear

In such cases, the irritant reaction may have a delayed onset. Now check your email to confirm your subscription. told us how to deal with the dreaded, pernicious, invisible prickly pear fruit stickers (glochids) which somehow end up embedded in my hands every time Erik brings one of those fruits in the house.
Slice down the prickly pear from the top to bottom and peel the skin off. Shanon reported that brushing his axillary skin with sabra fruit resulted in no symptoms for a half-hour, followed by ​1 1⁄2 hours of "stabbing feelings". Most opuntias bear only a few of the longer, highly visible spines… but the tiny ones on the areoles are also a concern. A biopsy of the later lesions reveals granuloma formation with plant material embedded in the dermis. Push through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Ideally, you’d only wear thick, long-sleeved gloves or use tongs when handling any prickly pear, but in case glochids do get to you, remove them quickly before they work their way into your skin. Required fields are marked *. The result is a syrup that’s sweet, colorful and packed with vitamins. [4] The presence of a cactus granuloma lesion is often followed by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.[5]. The tufts of glochids in the areoles nearly cover the stem surfaces of some cactus species, each tuft containing hundreds of glochids; this may be in addition to, or instead of, the larger, more conspicuous cactus spines, which do not readily detach and are not generally barbed. Choose a non-windy day to avoid loose spines blowing onto skin and clothing.

B.C. Most cacti possess spines, some large enough to cause serious wounds. Implantation of glochidia in the skin does sometimes cause immediate irritation, but not always, as one may deduce from the presentation of patients with granulomatous lesions around glochidia, patients who have no recollection of the penetration that caused the acute injury, even when it is clear that the injury is far from fresh.
However, since the presence of glochidia is the inciting factor, removal of these minute spines is generally preferable. To do so, use sticky tape (duct tape is perfect), softly pressing the tape over the affected sector, then yanking it off. [1], If the glochidia are not removed, a response may ensue that eventuates in granulomatous dermatitis. It just so happens that O. microdasys is one of those opuntias that lacks any long, painful spines and, in fact, looks totally harmless, as the “bunny ears” name suggests. Soaking unroofed papules may allow for extrusion of the glochidia. While the long, nasty spines stay on the plant, glochids break off readily and work their way into the skin, causing itching and irritation that can, in sensitive individuals, last days, weeks or even months. Source:,, montage: [7] Popular methods of removing glochidia have included spreading adhesive plaster over the area and ripping it off quickly or using melted wax (as is used in wax hair removal.

Then run the mixture through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and any remaining pulp. If the glochidia are allowed to remain in the skin, a dermatitis may ensue that will persist for months. All Rights Reserved. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Martinez et al. can be made of all sorts of products, but not, apparently, opuntia glochids. are unusual among cacti in that they produce two types of spines. Prepare the prickly pear fruit by removing the glochids. When the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat and add some citric acid. It might sound complicated but there are several different approaches to tackling this task: Once you have the glochids removed, you’ll want to slice down the skin from top to bottom and peel the outside layer of the prickly pear off. Prickly pear syrup is easy – simply cover the fruits with water, bring to a boil, cover and let steep for 30-40 minutes.

Add an equal parts of sugar. In fact, the picking of the fruit from prickly pear is always done in long pants and sleeves, and is suspended when there is wind to prevent the fine spikes from drifting onto workers and only when the fruit has been wetted. Pour the mixture into your high powered blender and blend like crazy. Ideally, you’d only wear thick, long-sleeved gloves or use tongs when handling any prickly pear, but in case glochids do get to you, remove them quickly before they work their way into your skin. Once they’ve worked their way into your skin, though, you pretty much have to wait until your body reacts, causing dermatitis then pustules, then eventually expelling them. cactus, prickly pear, simple syrup, syrup. Source: Sheldon Navie,

Penetrating injuries can introduce pathogenic microorganisms into the wound. It also makes a wonderful gift for out-of-town friends and family members at the holidays.


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