Hudson pear

Cylindropuntia rosea
Hudson pear
Hudson pear attached to car tyre
Hudson pear
Succulent
Basal
Cladode
Red
Pink
Purple
Green

Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is a short shrub (up to 1.5 m tall) with almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (up to 3 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 4-8 large whitish-coloured spines (up to 4.5 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. Its flowers are reddish-pink or purplish in colour and its mature fruit are yellow.

Common names 
Also known as: Hudson pear,
Family 
Cactaceae
Deciduous 
No
Native/Exotic 
Exotic
Origin 
Mexico
Notifiable 
No
State declaration 
Class 1
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

Naturalised in some inland regions of Australia, though not currently very widespread. It is locally common in some parts of northern New South Wales (i.e. around the opal mining areas of Lightning Ridge, Grawin and Glengarry and at Cumborah) and infestations have also been reported from Brewarrina, near Coonamble and near Goodooga. It is also present in the inland regions of southern Western Australia and possibly naturalised in South Australia. There are unconfirmed reports of its presence around opal mining areas in inland southern Queensland.

Habitat 

A weed of roadsides, disturbed sites, pastures, open woodlands, rangelands and grasslands, particularly in drier inland regions.

Habit 

Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is a short shrub (up to 1.5 m tall).

Impact and control methods 

Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is a serious environmental weed in parts of northern New South Wales, where estimates of the area infested range from 60 000 to 100 000 hectares. This species does not produce seeds (i.e. it is sterile) and only spreads vegetatively by pieces of its stem segments, which root where they come into contact with the ground. Dense infestations can displace native flora and may impact on plant biodiversity in semi-arid communities. It also poses a threat to native fauna and the spiny nature of the plant has been reported to cause the deaths of native animals (e.g. koalas). Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is a potentially serious environmental weed in the drier parts of south-eastern Queensland.

Stem and leaves 

The almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (up to 3 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 4-8 large whitish-coloured spines (up to 4.5 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces.

Flowers and fruits 

Its flowers are reddish-pink or purplish in colour and its mature fruit are yellow.

Reproduction and dispersal 

This species does not produce seeds (i.e. it is sterile) and only reproduces vegetatively via stem fragments (i.e. stem segments may become dislodged and produce roots). Stem segments are spread by becoming attached to animals, footwear and vehicles. They may also be dispersed by flood waters and in dumped garden waste.

Similar species 

Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is similar to snake cactus (Cylindropuntia spinosior), jumping cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera), rope pear (Cylindropuntia imbricata ) and boxing glove cactus ( Opuntia fulgida var. mamillata). These species can be distinguished by the following differences:

- Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is a short shrub (up to 1.5 m tall) with almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (up to 3 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 4-8 large whitish-coloured spines (up to 4.5 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. Its flowers are reddish-pink or purplish in colour and its mature fruit are yellow.

- snake cactus (Cylindropuntia spinosior ) is a short shrub (0.5-2 m tall) with almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (0.5-1.5 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 4-24 small whitish-coloured spines (1-2 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. Its flowers are red to reddish-purple in colour and its mature fruit are yellow.

- jumping cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera ) is a short shrub (0.5-2.5 m tall) with almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (1.5-2.5 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 6-12 relatively small brownish-coloured spines (up to 2 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. Its flowers are reddish-purple to pinkish-purple in colour and its mature fruit are greenish in colour.

- rope pear (Cylindropuntia imbricata ) is a short shrub (usually 1-2 m tall) with almost cylindrical (i.e. terete) stem segments that have numerous raised humps (2-5 cm long) and are rope-like in appearance. These stem segments have groups of 3-15 large whitish-coloured spines (2-3 cm long) on most of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. Its flowers are reddish-purple in colour and its mature fruit are yellow.

- boxing glove cactus ( Cylindropuntia fulgida var. mamillata) is a short shrub (usually 1-2 m tall) with distorted stem segments that have numerous small raised humps and are broader towards the tips. These stem segments have groups of 0-18 small yellowish or whitish spines (up to 2 cm long) on some of the small raised bumps (i.e. areoles) on their surfaces. It usually does not produce flowers or fruit.