devils rope pear

Cylindropuntia imbricata
Succulent
Whorled
Reduced / Needle
Purple
Bluish-green

An upright or spreading fleshy plant (usually growing 1-2 m tall) with stems that consist of a series of cylindrical segments. These segments (up to 40 cm long and 3-5 cm thick) are covered in mall humps that give them a rope-like appearance and are also covered in groups of sharp spines (2-3 cm long).
Its showy purple or purplish-red coloured flowers (4-9 cm across) have large numbers of 'petals' and its fleshy fruit (25-70 mm long) turn yellow as they mature

Common names 
Also known as: andelabrum cactus, cane cactus, cane cholla, chain link cactus, cholla, devil's rope, imbricate cactus, imbricate prickly pear, rope pear, tree cholla, walkingstick cholla,
Family 
Cactaceae
Deciduous 
No
Flowering time 
Late Spring and Summer
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Native to southern USA and northern Mexico.
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Category 3 - Must not be distributed or disposed. This means it must not be released into the environment unless the distribution or disposal is authorised in a regulation or under a permit.
Council declaration 
As per State Declaration
Known distribution 

This species has a scattered distribution throughout the eastern parts of Australia. It is most common in the inland and sub-coastal regions of southern Queensland and New South Wales. Also recorded from north-western Victoria, south-eastern South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Habitat 

This species is mostly found in semi-arid environments, but also occurs in drier sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions. It is a weed of roadsides, disturbed sites, pastures, open woodlands, rangelands and grasslands.

Habit 

An upright (i.e. erect) or sprawling fleshy (i.e. succulent) plant. It usually grows 1-2 m tall, but occasionally reaches up to 3 m in height.

Impact and control methods 

Devil’s Rope pear is a very thorny cactus which can cause injury to humans and to animals. Infestations can reduce the livestock carrying capacity of pastures and can become thick enough to impede access. It is also regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, and was included among the top 200 invasive plants of south-eastern Queensland.
This cactus has the potential to become a widespread and abundant pest throughout inland Queensland, is common around mining settlements in the western areas of New South Wales, and is considered to pose a threat to semi-arid grasslands in Victoria.

Stem and leaves 

Devil’s Rope pear is a very thorny cactus which can cause injury to humans and to animals. Infestations can reduce the livestock carrying capacity of pastures and can become thick enough to impede access. It is also regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, and was included among the top 200 invasive plants of south-eastern Queensland.
This cactus has the potential to become a widespread and abundant pest throughout inland Queensland, is common around mining settlements in the western areas of New South Wales, and is considered to pose a threat to semi-arid grasslands in Victoria.

Flowers and fruits 

The showy purple or reddish-purple coloured flowers (up to 6 cm long and 3-9 cm across) are borne singly on a fleshy base towards the ends of the stem segments. They have large numbers of 'petals' (most of these are actually petal-like structures known as petaloids), each 15-35 mm long, and numerous yellow stamens. Flowering occurs mostly during late spring and summer.
Immature fruit are green in colour, but turn yellowish as they mature. These fruit (25-70 mm long and 20-40 mm wide) are fleshy (i.e. succulent), spineless, egg-shaped (i.e. obovoid) berries with deeply depressed tops. They are covered in small bumps (i.e. tubercules) and have 18-30 tiny raised structures (i.e. areoles). The seeds (2.5-4 mm long) are yellow to light brown in colour and sub-circular (i.e. sub-globose) or angular in shape.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species reproduces by seed and vegetatively via stem fragments (i.e. stem segments may become dislodged and produce roots).
Stem fragments are spread by becoming attached to animals, footwear and vehicles. They may also be dispersed by flood waters and in dumped garden waste. The fruit are eaten by birds and other animals, and the seeds then spread in their droppings.