Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Sabra Plants – Prickly and Sweet

cactus sabra prickly on outside sweet on inside
This is no ordinary cactus – it is a sabra plant. We continued our journey up beyond the village of Meron and into an area above that had caves, rocks and flowers. I photographed this large green cactus, and my friend informed me that it is a sabra. Native born Israelis are referred to as sabras, because like the plant, they are supposed to be prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside.

sabra - prickly pear cactus
Here is the sabra flower up close. Known in English as a prickly pear cactus, on Wikipedia I learned:

Prickly pears typically grow with flat, rounded cladodes (also called platyclades) that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures.

The Hebrew word for the cactus fig is tsabar, “similar to and derived from the Arabic ‘صبار ṣubbār’.” It is reportedly also used as fencing. Have you ever eaten a sabra fruit?

kalanit poppy
As this lovely little kalanit plant was growing near the sabra, I’m sharing it as well in this post. To see more of those red poppy anemones, visit my post on my hike on the Peak Trail of Mount Meron.

For more Nature Notes:

Nature Notes

Hannah says

I like the title of your post; you could be referring to a person!
I have never eaten sabra fruit. what are they like?
Thanks for sharing your trip, a little each week.

Leora says

I inserted the word "plant" to show what I meant - hope that was clear. I like the taste inside, though as Robin says below, there isn't a lot of fruit on them.

Hannah says

Don't worry! It is very clear.

Robin from Israel says

They definitely make effective fences. I'm not a huge fan of the fruit - too much trouble (spines) for too little payoff.

Leora says

Nice to hear from you, Robin! Interesting idea for a fence. I've never seen this, but I remember reading about Native American tribes that did something similar with a prickly plant.

Karen says

Pretty blooms on the cactus.

Eileen says

Neat looking prickly plant, the flowers are pretty. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

Jeri says

I took tons of pictures of prickly pears a while ago on a visit to Arches National Park. I think I love desert plant life more than any other types of plants because they have to be so tenacious to live in harsh environments. Over the years, I've tried keeping a cactus or two, but I always water them too much. Not to mention both of my cats are fascinated by them for some reason and try to chew on the spines. Ouch!

Lorri says

Nice captures! I like the fact you managed to get blooms on the prickly pear. Their textures are varied, from harsh to delicate looking.

Carver says

Fascinating information and great shots.

Ramblingwoods says

Clever post title and interesting information....I also could think of people who could fit that description.... Michelle


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