This plant was thought to come from Asia, hence its improper name, but according to following theories it is supposed to be introduced to Italy by the Saracens of the Arab dynasty, at the time of the landing of the Arabs at Mazara (827). Prickly pear, which was called "bread of the poor regions" in the past, was introduced to the Court of Vittorio Emanuele III from the Randazzo Marquis of Torrazze.
Today this plant is carefully cultivated in Sicily in three vocational areas: agro di San Cono, the North-Western side of Etna, Agro di Santa Margherita del Belice.
These three areas have got very similar features: Altitude, fertility and lands position, tested agronomic techniques. In recent years this fruit cultivation has got specialized directions and investments, whose trade crossed the borders reaching the tables of those countries such as USA and Canada.