A cactus so tough that its spines can penetrate boots and car tyres has been found growing at Mundubbera, 400km northwest of Brisbane.
Once spines of the hudson pear cactus penetrate the skin, they often require pliers to pull them out. It is potentially the worst cactus species to spread in Australia since prickly pear in the 1920s.
Biosecurity Queensland land protection officer Jodie Sippel said there was anecdotal evidence the cactus had caused a fatality at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales when a person fell into a clump of pear and had a heart attack.
When animals are impaled spines break off, leaving foreign matter under the skin that lead to infection. “It’s pretty nasty stuff and we don’t yet have chemicals registered to treat it because we’ve only just found it,” Ms Sippel said.
Up to 50 plants had been found on one property but an urgent search was needed to see if it had spread further, she said.
A native of Mexico, the plant is highly invasive and spreads whenever an animal, vehicle or person brushes against it, dislodging segments that take root. Its spines threaten bush walkers, campers, horses, dogs, cattle and sheep.
Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea) is densely branched and grows up to 1.5m tall and 3m wide. Its spines are 4.5cm long and white. Flowers are pink-purple and 5cm wide. Fruit are oval, up to 4.5cm long and yellow when ripe.
If you see the pear contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
* Story sourced from The Courier Mail: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,23281097-3102,00.html (online)
MORE NEWS ON WEEDS
Better Burnett is supporting the work of the Burnett Inland North Local Government Cluster (BINLGAC) as they run freeworkshops in our region on the management of weed seed spread.
Come along to brush up on your weed ID, learn how to effectively washdown a vehicle on your property and how to minimise weeds coming onto your property. Bring along samples of weeds that you would like to be identified (in a sealed bag) and bring along a chair, hat and water.
NARAYEN STATION – Tues 4 March 08, 9.30am – 2.30pm
MONTO WASHDOWN FACILITY (Burnett Hwy) – Wednesday 5 March 08, 9.30am – 2.30pm
Smoko and lunch provided. RSVP Vikki Evans on 07 4169 0720 by 1 March 08.
For more information about the workshops see flyer: weedseedspread_flyer2008.pdf