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Opuntioid cacti

Opuntioid cacti
Photo: PIRSA
Invasive Plant
Opuntioid cacti
Cylindropuntia*, Austrocylindropuntia* and Opuntia* species and cultivars

These succulent, spined cactii have green cylindrical or pad-shaped stems and are usually leafless.  Most produce flowers of various colours and colourful, fleshy fruit.  They compete with native vegetation, forming prickly thickets limiting access by stock, humans and vehicles and can injure lifestock and native wildlife.

(Note: Opuntia ficus-indica is exempt)



Cylindropuntia species are mainly established as weeds close to localities where they were formerly planted. The fruit are eaten by birds and some mammals, which effectively disperse the seed of some species over wider areas. As the stem segments are spiny they can be carried on livestock and vehicles.

Infestations can also start when live plants or their stems are dumped with garden waste.  The plants disperse down watercourses when detached stem segments and whole small plants are carried in runoff water. 

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Additional suggested alternatives:  Chagualillo (Puya venusta), Queen of the Night (Cereus gregii)


Alternative Plants

Agave, Century Plant, Foxtail
Photo: © immij pty ltd
Alternative Plant Agave, Century Plant, Foxtail
Agave attenuata
Succulent Plants

Upright habit on a tall stem. Heads to 0.9 m with stems up to 1.5 m. Clumping habit when young. It is an ideal specimen for pots and very popular accent plant. Extremely hardy and can withstand extremes in temperature. This specimen has high architectural appeal.

Mexican Fence Post
Photo:Cactus Creations
Alternative Plant Mexican Fence Post
Pachycereus marginatus
Succulent Plants
Pachycereus marginatus is a cactus known for its deurability in heat, with columnar trunks that grow slowly up to 3.5m. Stems are up to 10cm in diameter, with 5 to 7 ribs. Flowers are green, flushed with pink.  Requires full sun.  An excellent feature container plant.
Spineless Yucca, Soft Tipped Yucca
Photo: © immij pty ltd
Alternative Plant Spineless Yucca, Soft Tipped Yucca
Yucca elephantipes
Succulent Plants

A small, evergreen tree that is one of the most versatile indoor and outdoor foliage plants. It develops a thick, branching trunk reminiscent of an elephant's foot. Mid-greed leaves are leathery and finely toothed. Adaptable to a wide range of climates and conditions and is drought, salt and frost tolerant. This specimen has high architectural appeal.

Torch cactus
Photo: Cactus Creations
Alternative Plant Torch cactus
Echinopsis spachiana
Succulent Plants
Echinopsis spachiana grows as a columnar-formed cactus, reaching 2m high, with a diameter of 5 to 6cm.  Vertical branches arise from the base of the plant.  Each column has 10–15 rounded ribs. The large areoles are around 1 cm apart, and have wavy yellow hairs. The straight spines are red-yellow initially, fading to white as they age. The large white tubular flowers appear in November to January and open at night.
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