Macquarie Valley Weeds Committee & Lachlan Valley Weeds Advisory Committee


Prickly Pear

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Botanical Name: Cylindropuntia & Opuntia sp except O. ficus-indica
Other Common Names:


Class Regions
Class 4All Of N.S.W.
Landholder Responsibilities: The growth and spread of the plant must be controlled according to the measures specified in a management plan published by the local control authority and the plant may not be sold, propagated or knowingly distributed
Why Is It Bad?: All new plants result from detached segments and the plants are long lived. It is adaptable to areas with annual rainfall from 150mm to 800mm.


Habit: Shrub
Leaves: Small, scale like, produced under the areoles on young segments only.
Flowers: The petals are yellow and the flower is about 6cm in diameter with a fleshy base.
Fruit: The fruit is somewhat pear shaped with red purple mottling, about 2.5cm long.
Roots: There are underground tubers and short fibrous roots. Tubers are formed when the segments are covered with soil and they lose their spines.

Control Methods

Manual Removal:
Chemical Use: Chemical control is not always effective. It is difficult because much of the weed occurs on steep rocky areas. If patches are treated with chemicals they should be checked for the next 7 years for any regrowth and new plants.
Fire: Physical removal and burning of plants is the most effective control method, but all dislodged segments and fruit must be destroyed. As the plants have a high water content they do not easily burn and other fuel such as wood should be used to create enough heat to destroy the plants.
Slashing & Cutting:
Biological Control: The cochineal insect has been effective on Tiger Pear infestations
Cultivation & Scalping: As much of the root system as possible should be removed by grubbing or cultivation.


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Image Credit: Scott Kahler

Image Credit: Scott Kahler

Image Credit: Scott Kahler

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