Cylindropuntia rosea (hudson pear)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Cylindropuntia rosea (DC.) Backeb.
Preferred Common Name
- hudson pear
Other Scientific Names
- Cactus subquadriflorus Moç. & Sessé ex DC.
- Cylindropuntia pallida (Rose) F.M.Knuth
- Grusonia rosea (DC.) G.D.Rowley
- Opuntia pallida Rose
- Opuntia rosea DC.
International Common Names
- English: rosea cactus
- Spanish: cardenche; cardo
- French: cactus à épines blanches; oponce rose
Local Common Names
- South Africa: roseakaktus
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
C. rosea is a densely spiny cactus native to Mexico. It is known to be cultivated as an ornamental plant in Australia, South Africa and Spain and it is also used as a barrier plant in Namibia and Botswana. C. rosea is recorded as naturalized in Peru and invasive in Australia, France, Namibia, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe. Where it has become invasive, its thorns can cause severe injuries and even death to wild and domestic animals. In Australia, koalas, kangaroos and birds have being found dead due to the spines of C. rosea. Moreover, it causes negative impacts on native vegetation and agriculture. Efforts to improve biological control led to the discovery that it had been misidentified in South Africa and is instead the chainfruit cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) (Henderson and Zimmerman, 2003). In Queensland, it is a Class 1 declared pest plant and a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Cactaceae
- Genus: Cylindropuntia
- Species: Cylindropuntia rosea
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
The genus Cylindropuntia contains 33 species and was separated from the larger genus Opuntia by Frederic Knuth in 1935. These 33 species often hybridize naturally, and many of the known populations are actually hybrids (Anderson, 2001).
Rosea cactus (formerly Opuntia rosea, now in Cylindropuntia) is a name that has long been used for a densely spiny cactus invading dry savanna in South Africa. Efforts to biologically control this invasive species led to the discovery that the plant species had been misidentified in South Africa and is instead the chainfruit cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) (Henderson and Zimmerman, 2003).
Cylindropuntia rosea is often misidentified as C. tunicata. The main reason for this is the similarity between seedlings but both can be distinguished from one another by the flower tepal colour - pink in C. rosea and yellow in C. tunicata (Hunt et al., 2006).
Another reason for misidentification is the scientific name (C. rosea) which differs depending on the country: the term C. rosea is currently used in Australia and Mexico, whilst C. pallida is used in North America, South Africa and Spain (Deltoro et al., 2014; Laguna et al., 2013).
Some authors suggest that C. rosea is a hybrid of C. imbricata and C. tunicata (Baker et al., 2009). However, C. rosea is geographically isolated from C. tunicata and the cochineal (biological control agent) from C. rosea does not develop on C. imbricata or C. tunicata. Therefore, the hybrid origin of C. rosea is unlikely (Walters et al., 2011).
The preferred common name of this plant is named after a resident of the Lightning Ridge area, New South Wales, Australia, one Mr Hudson, and who first brought the problem to the attention of the then Prickly Pear Destruction commission, with this cactus species still referred to as Hudson pear to this day (Holtkamp, 2006).
DescriptionTop of page
C. rosea is a succulent shrub branching basally with ascending spiny stems. It grows up to 1 m tall, although some plants have been reported to reach up to 1.5 m high in Australia (Hosking et al., 2007) and forming clumps up to 3 m wide. It has cylindrical stem segments, grey to green, 10-15 cm long and 1.6-2.5 cm in diameter, with distinct tubercles. It presents large areoles (2-3.5 cm) and yellow glochids 2-5 mm long. Its flowers are rose coloured (4-5 cm long), and its fruits are obconical to obovoid, yellow, spiny and with distinct tubercles. See Anderson (2001) for more information.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
C. rosea is naturally distributed through the states of Hidalgo, Mexico, Puebla, and Tlaxcala in Mexico (Anderson, 2001), where it can form dense stands (Walters et al., 2011). Outside its native range, it is recorded as naturalized in Peru, and as invasive in Australia, France, Namibia, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe (Novoa et al., 2015).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 30 Jun 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Namibia||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Original citation: Novoa et al. (2015)|
|South Africa||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|Zimbabwe||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Original citation: Novoa et al. (2015)|
|France||Present, Few occurrences|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Northern Territory||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|-South Australia||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Western Australia||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
It is thought to have been introduced to Australia, South Africa and Spain for ornamental and horticultural purposes (Laguna et al., 2013).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Australia||Horticulture (pathway cause); Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)||Yes||Laguna et al. (2013)|
|South Africa||Horticulture (pathway cause); Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)||Yes||Laguna et al. (2013)|
|Spain||Horticulture (pathway cause); Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)||Yes||Laguna et al. (2013)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
C. rosea (both varieties) is currently sold all over the world as an ornamental plant. Online stores sell seeds and adults of C. rosea and ship to many countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.
HabitatTop of page
C. rosea presents large environmental plasticity. It grows under very different climatic conditions and in a wide variety of habitats. It can grow on deep soils, cliffs, open terrain, dense grasslands, under treetops, or even on artificial substrates such as corrugated iron roofs (Deltoro et al., 2014).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Productive/non-natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Scrub / shrublands||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Deserts||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Deserts||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Arid regions||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Arid regions||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Reported chromosome number counts for C. rosea are n=22, 2n=4x=44 (Baker et al., 2009). Some authors suggest that C. rosea is a hybrid between C. imbricata and C. tunicata (Baker et al., 2009). However, C. rosea is geographically isolated from C. tunicata and the cochineal (biological control agent) from C. rosea does not develop on C. imbricata or C. tunicata. Therefore, the hybrid origin of C. rosea is unlikely (Walters et al., 2011).
C. rosea vegetatively disperses throughout the year from cuttings or fruits with rooting capacity. After 20 days of being in contact with the soil, 80% of its cuttings and fruits can root without being watered (Deltoro et al., 2014). As in other Cylindropuntia species, the type of cladode that is most frequently detached is located at the end of the branches. The seedlings of C. rosea start to branch when they reach 5 cm in height and from that time dispersion can occur.
C. rosea is drought resistant and can withstand short periods of frost (until -10°C). It can grow in moderately salty soils (Sanz Elorza et al., 2004).
ClimateTop of page
|BS - Steppe climate||Preferred||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|BW - Desert climate||Preferred||< 430mm annual precipitation|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
C. rosea spreads by the movement of easily detachable segments (cladodes) and fruits, especially by flood waters (Walters et al., 2011).
Spiny segments and fruits can attach to walkers, livestock or wild animals and it is common to see plants along livestock and hiking trails (Deltoro et al., 2014).
Segments and fruits can be accidentally dispersed via vehicle tyres (Deltoro et al., 2014).
C. rosea is also intentionally dispersed by humans for ornamental purposes. This form of dispersal occurs mainly through informal markets, internet sales and cladodes exchange between gardening amateurs (Deltoro et al., 2014; Novoa et al., 2014).
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Yes||Deltoro et al. (2014)|
|Flooding and other natural disasters||Yes||Deltoro et al. (2014)|
|Garden waste disposal||Yes||Deltoro et al. (2014)|
|Horticulture||Yes||Novoa et al. (2015)|
|Internet sales||Propagules of C. fulgida are easily found in online-shops to be shipped all over the world||Yes|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Deltoro et al. (2014)|
|People sharing resources||Yes||Deltoro et al. (2014)|
|Seed trade||Seeds of C. fulgida are easily found in online-shops to be shipped all over the world||Yes|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Economic/livelihood||Positive and negative|
Economic ImpactTop of page
The spines of C. rosea can have negative impacts on livestock and vehicles. Moreover, it reduces the carrying capacity and the economic value of the private land in the invaded areas.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
C. rosea invades natural grasslands and pastures where it competes with native species for food and space. It also prevents the movement and causes injuries and death of wild animals. In Australia, koalas, kangaroos and birds have being found dead due to the spines of C. rosea (Deltoro et al., 2014).
Social ImpactTop of page
C. rosea can have negative impacts on human health, where the spines can result in injury (Deltoro et al., 2013).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Tolerant of shade
- Highly mobile locally
- Long lived
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts forestry
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Produces spines, thorns or burrs
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
UsesTop of page
In Australia, South Africa and Spain, C. rosea is cultivated as an ornamental plant (Deltoro et al., 2014). C. rosea is also used as a barrier plant in Namibia and Botswana (Walters et al., 2011).
Uses ListTop of page
- Potted plant
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Cylindropuntia species (all of them potential invaders) are easily identified by their spiny cylindrical stem segments. Walters et al. (2011)provide a useful identification key to distinguish C. rosea (referring to it as C. pallida) from other common Cylindropuntia invaders.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
C. rosea is often confused with C. tunicata. However, they can be distinguished by their flower tepal colour - pink in C. rosea and yellow in C. tunicata (Hunt et al., 2006).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Within the family Cactaceae, the genus Cylindropuntia is of special concern regarding invasiveness (Novoa et al., 2015a). However, many species of this genus (including C. rosea) are still being introduced around the world as ornamental species. In order to prevent new invasions, the genus Cylindropuntia was banned in South Africa under national regulations (Novoa et al., 2015a). In Australia, Cylindropuntia species are considered as Weeds of National Significance (Lloyd and Reeves, 2014) and it is a Class 1 declared pest plant under Queensland legislation.
The control of C. rosea is complex and expensive. Workers can be injured during the control activities due to the spines; plants can regrow from any detached propagule left behind after the control actions (mechanical control is therefore largely ineffective); and plants may sometime be difficult to spot (Deltoro et al., 2014).
Chemical control has been used in Australia and South Africa for controlling C. rosea. However, it is expensive and not extremely successful for controlling large infestations (Mathenge et al., 2009). Moreover, the herbicides used in Australia and South Africa are not allowed to be used in Europe (Deltoro et al., 2014).
Biological control has been very successful for controlling cactus weeds (Paterson et al., 2011), and it is the only sustainable long-term solution. Research on biological control of C. rosea has commenced in Australia (Lloyd and Reeves, 2014) and South Africa could in future collaborate on this initiative (Walters et al., 2011).
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
Future research should be done to understand the ecological, socioeconomic and residual impacts of C. rosea on the invaded ecosystems.
ReferencesTop of page
Anderson EF, 2001. The cactus family. Oregon, USA: Timber Press, 776 pp.
Baker MA; Rebman JP; Parfitt BD; Pinkava DJ; Zimmerman AD, 2009. Chromosome numbers in some cacti of western North America-VIII. Haseltonia, 15:117-134. http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2985/026.015.0112
Brunel S; Brundu G; Fried G, 2013. Eradication and control of invasive alien plants in the Mediterranean Basin: towards better coordination to enhance existing initiatives. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, 43(2):290-308. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2338
Calvert M; Reeve J; Gray B, 2014. Using Pest Central for monitoring control of Hudson pear in Central Queensland. In: 19th Australasian Weeds Conference, "Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge", Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 1-4 September 2014 [ed. by Baker, M.]. Hobart, Australia: Tasmanian Weed Society, 24.
Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015. Australia's virtual herbarium. Australia: Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria. http://avh.ala.org.au/#tab_simpleSearch
Deltoro V; Ballester G; Oltra JE; Pérez-Botella J; Pérez-Rovira P; Gómez-Serrano MA; Jiménez J, 2013. The practicalities of eradicating an extremely invasive cactus: Hudson pear Cylindropuntia rosea in the Valencia region (East Spain). Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin, No.33:23-27. http://www.issg.org/pdf/aliens_newsletters/A33.pdf
Deltoro V; Gomez-Serrano MA; Laguna Lumbreras E; Novoa Perez A, 2014. Bases para el control del cactus invasor Cylindropuntia pallida. Coleccion manuales tecnicos de biodiversidad 5. Conselleria d'Infraestructures, Territori i Medi Ambient, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Holtkamp R, 2006. Hudson pear. PrimeFact, 240. Sydney, New South Wales: State of New South Wales, 1-4pp. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/96140/hudson-pear.pdf
Holtkamp RH, 2008. Prospects for Hudson pear biological control in Australia. In: Proceedings of the 16th Australian Weeds Conference, Cairns Convention Centre, North Queensland, Australia, 18-22 May, 2008. Queensland, Australia: Queensland Weed Society, 255.
Hosking JR; Conn BJ; Lepschi BJ; Barker CH, 2007. Plant species first recognised as naturalised for New South Wales in 2002 and 2003, with additional comments on species recognised as naturalised in 2000-2001. Cunninghammia, 10:139-166.
Hunt DR; Taylor NP; Charles G, 2006. New cactus lexicon. Sherborne, UK: DHB, 560 pp.
Invasive Species South Africa, 2014. Plants A-Z: Flora that is invasive in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Invasive Species South Africa. http://www.invasives.org.za/plants/plants-a-z
Johnson SB; Hosking JR; Chinnock RJ; Holtkamp RH, 2009. The biology of Australian weeds 53. Cylindropuntia rosea (DC.) Backeb. and Cylindropuntia tunicata (Lehm.) F.M. Knuth. Plant Protection Quarterly, 24(2):42-49.
Jones PK; Holtkamp RH; Day MD, 2014. Targeting biotypes of Dactylopius tomentosus to improve effective biocontrol of Cylindropuntia spp. in Australia. In: 19th Australasian Weeds Conference, "Science, Community and Food Security: the Weed Challenge", Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 1-4 September 2014 [ed. by Baker, M.]. Hobart, Australia: Tasmanian Weed Society, 55-58.
Jones PK; Holtkamp RH; Day MD, 2016. The host range of four new biotypes of Dactylopius tomentosus (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) from southern USA and their potential as biological control agents of Cylindropuntia spp. (Cactaceae) in Australia: Part II. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 26(8):1033-1047. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cbst20
Jones PK; Holtkamp RH; Palmer WA; Day MD, 2015. The host range of three biotypes of Dactylopius tomentosus (Lamarck) (Hemiptera: Dactylopiidae) and their potential as biological control agents of Cylindropuntia spp. (Cactaceae) in Australia. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 25(6):613-628. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cbst20
Jones PK; Oakey J; Day MD; Vitelli JS, 2016. Improving the effectiveness of the release strategy for the array of Dactylopius tomentosus biotypes for the biocontrol of Cylindropuntia species by using DNA analysis. In: 20th Australasian Weeds Conference, Perth, Western Australia, 11-15 September 2016 [ed. by Randall, R.\Lloyd, S.\Borger, C.]. Perth, Australia: Weeds Society of Western Australia, 137-140.
Laguna E; Deltoro VI; Ferrer PP; Novoa A; Guillot D, 2013. About the binomen Cylindropuntia rosea and its invasive individuals in the Valencian Community. Bouteloua, 16:40-51.
Lloyd S; Reeves A, 2014. Situation Statement on Opuntioid Cacti (Austrocylindropuntia spp., Cylindropuntia spp. and Opuntia spp.) in Western Australia. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food. Goverment of Western Australia.
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ContributorsTop of page
30/04/15 Original text by:
Ana Novoa, Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (CIB), Stellenbosch University, South Africa
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