The pads are, technically, the flattened stems that protrude from the plant at odd angles. Clinging to each pad are small clusters of tiny stickers. These pads are frequently referred to as nopales or nopalitos—a Spanish terms that refer to the pads once they are cut up and prepared for eating.
Cylindrical in shape, the fruits of the prickly pear are also known as tunas—another Spanish term. The most common eaten varieties are the yellow, white, and purple pears (the purple variety being the sweetest).