Pereskia

Pereskia aculeata
Pereskia: Pereskia aculeata Pereskia: Pereskia aculeata

Common name:

Pereskia

Scientific name:

Pereskia aculeata (Cactaceae)

Alternative common names:

Barbados gooseberry; blade apple; leafy cactus, lemon vine, primitive cactus; Spanish gooseberry (English), pereskia; barbadosstekelbessie (Afrikaans), uqwaningi (isiZulu)

A spiny, clambering vine with long slender branches, growing 2-10m or higher and superficially resembling a bougainvillea. The young stems and leaves are semi-succulent with pairs of short, hooked spines in the leaf axils. The older stems are woody with clusters of hard, straight spines 30-40mm long. Bright green to yellowish, lance-shaped leaves. White, cream or yellow flowers appear from March-July and are lemon-scented, followed by succulent berries about 20mm across which are initially green then turn yellow. It invades forest margins, clearings and plantations.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    West Indies and South America (Brazil and Argentina)

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Mostly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as scattered parts of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces

    How does it spread?

    Spreads by seed dispersal

    Why is it a problem?

    It overtops and smothers other species, including large forest and plantation trees. Obstructs access to forests and plantations

    What does it look like?

    General description: Spiny, clambering vine with long slender branches, growing 2-10m or higher and resembling bougainvillea. Young stems and leaves semi-succulent with pairs of short, hooked spines in the leaf axils. The older stems are woody with clusters of hard, straight spines 30-40mm long. Leaves: Bright green to yellowish, lance-shaped leaves. Flowers: White, cream or yellow flowers appearing from March-July and lemon-scented. Fruit/Seeds: Succulent berries about 20mm across, initially green then turning yellow

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Used as an ornament and for security hedging

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