Pest plant - Prickly pear

  • Fact sheet
  • August 2015
Wheel-cactus-k-haebich
The wheel cactus

Prickly pears (Opuntia species) are succulent perennials that invade rangeland and native vegetation in the drier parts of South Australia. Wheel cactus (Opuntia robusta) and common prickly pear (Opuntia stricta) are the most prominent species.

The hybrid cultivars grown for fruit production under the name of Opuntia ficus-indica are not declared in South Australia.

The various species of chollas, Hudson pears and rope cactus (Cylindropuntia and Austrocylindropuntia species) are not considered in this information.

Description

The appearance of these cacti can vary significantly, from the more familiar tall, erect and flat segmented common prickly pear through to small shrubs with narrow flattened, rope like segments such as Hudson pear.

Why is it a problem?

Distribution

Wheel cactus

Prickly pear

Opuntia aurantiaca, O. Elatior, O. Engelmannii, O. Microdasys, O. Monacantha, O. Puberula, O. Tomentosa and several other species

Ecology

How it spreads

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