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Opuntia ficus-indica, a hybrid orignating in Mexico, most ikely.
It is probably most excellently cared for. While I was there I had cause to reflect on the still-just-about socialist state in France because there were a couple of park guys planting the flower beds. There was one older guy to dig up a spade full of earth and another younger guy holding the tray of plants who put planted each new flower. It struck me that I was looking at the master and his apprentice. Quite possibly I was completely wrong but it did make me think how the French do seem to have a good way of life and how this must surely have something to do with the existence of the socialist state. I'm not saying that socialism is a good or a bad thing - just observing in my naive way how there are at least some domains where the equation progress = good is invalid.
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