Prickly pear

Opuntia littoralis var vaseyi 4.jpg
Opuntia littoralis
Scientific classification

The prickly pear is Opuntia: a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae.

The genus is named after the Ancient Greek city of Opus. There, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew which could be propagated by rooting its leaves.[1]

Prickly pears (mostly Opuntia stricta) were originally imported into Australia in the 18th century for gardens. They were later used as a natural agricultural fencing.[2] They quickly became a widespread invasive weed. They changed 101,000 sq mi (260,000 km2) of farming land into an impenetrable green jungle of prickly pear, in places 20 ft (6.1 m) high.

In 1919, the Australian federal government established the Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board to coordinate efforts with state governments to eradicate the weed. Early attempts at mechanical removal and poisonous chemicals failed, so in a last resort, biological control was attempted.[2] There is a moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, from South America, whose larvae eat prickly pear. It was introduced in 1925 and rapidly reduced the cactus population. A memorial hall in Chinchilla (Queensland) commemorates the moth.[2] This is one of the earliest known examples of the biological control of pests.

  • references


  1. Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. III M-Q. CRC Press. p. 1885. ISBN 978-0-8493-2677-6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Patterson, Ewen K. 1936. The World's first insect memorial. Review of the River Plate, December pp. 16–17
Other Languages
العربية: صبير
asturianu: Opuntia
Avañe'ẽ: Urumbe
беларуская: Апунцыя
català: Opuntia
Cebuano: Opuntia
čeština: Opuncie
Deutsch: Opuntien
Diné bizaad: Hosh niteelí
Ελληνικά: Οπουντία
English: Opuntia
español: Opuntia
Esperanto: Opuntio
euskara: Opuntia
français: Opuntia
հայերեն: Տատասկաթզենի
hornjoserbsce: Opuntija
hrvatski: Opuncija
Ido: Nopalo
Bahasa Indonesia: Opuntia
italiano: Opuntia
Basa Jawa: Opuntia
ქართული: ოპუნცია
қазақша: Опунция
lietuvių: Opuncija
magyar: Fügekaktusz
Nāhuatl: Nohpalli
Nederlands: Opuntia
norsk: Opuntia
پنجابی: چھتر تھور
polski: Opuncja
português: Opuntia
Runa Simi: Sintuq
русский: Опунция
Scots: Opuntia
తెలుగు: నాగజెముడు
Türkçe: Kaynanadili
українська: Опунція
Tiếng Việt: Opuntia
Winaray: Opuntia
中文: 仙人掌属