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a genus of plants of the family Cactaceae. The plants are shrubs, trees (P. sacnarosa), or vines (P. aculeata). They have thorny branches and normally developed, alternate leaves (unlike most cacti). The flowers do not have the pronounced floral tube typical of most cacti and are gathered into inflorescences. Less frequently the plants have solitary flowers. The ovary is superior or inferior. The berrylike fruit of some species is edible.
There are approximately 20 species of Pereskia, distributed in the tropics of Central and South America. The plants grow along the edges of tropical rain forests, in savannas, and in caatingas. In their native land they are used as hedges; in greenhouses the plants are used as a stock for some cacti.