Etymology - The name is an anagram of the Brazilian word for the scrub-brush vegetation where the first plant in the genus was found - "catinga" or sometimes "caatinga".Tacinga is a genus of several species in the subfamily Opuntioideae. As in other Opuntiads, glochids are present, although in this genus spines are often few in number. The stems are segmented growth and may be flattened, paddle-shapes or cylindrical stems. Flowers differ from the genus Opuntia in that the flowers perianth parts are typically short and narrow with stamens and style protruding significantly. Flowers are usually orange or can be greenish-white. Floral tubes are similar to the stem and contain areoles and glochids.
In the wild, this genus is found in Northeastern Brazil. It has been rare in cultivation until recently as there seems to be a revival among cactus growers in the Opuntiads - and especially the genera that do not it into Opuntia proper.