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Tungi is the local St Helenian name for the prickly or cactus pears. The plants (Opuntia vulgaris) were originally brought to the island by the colonial ivory traders from East Africa in the 1850's. Tungi cactus now grows wild and organically in the dry coastal regions of the island.

Three principal varieties of tungi grow on the island, but only two are used in the production of Tungi spirit. These are both examples of the largest fruit grown - the 'English' (or yellow) fruit and the Maderia (or large red) fruit. The small Spiny Red tungi fruits are not normally used for distillation, despite remaining in season for almost 8 months of the year. By comparison with the large varieties, their juice content is low.


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