Cane cactus

Cane cactus

Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica

Common Name:

Cane cactus

Scientific Name:

Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica

Alternative common names:

Coral cactus


Cane cactus is a branched shrub with small scarlet flowers, green pad-like stem covered with white spines. It has green-yellow fruits containing many seeds covered with a hard coat.It is a potential wwed of grasslands, shrublands and open woodlands, particularly insemi-arid regions.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

western South America

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1a

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Eastern and Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

How does it spread?

Spreading is by dispersal of seeds by birds and animals eating cane cactus. Any part of the plant get attached to an animal skin or fur and fall into the grow ground can regrow on its own to form new plant.

Why is it a problem?

It grows to form impenetrable thicket to animals and it also decreasing grazing capacity of pastures.

What does it look like?

Leaves: Leaves reduced into small white spines.

Flowers: Flowers are small and scarlet in colour.

Fruit/seeds: Fruit is yellow - green in colour, about 2-5 cm wide. Inside the fruit are numerous seeds covered with hard coat

Does the plant have any uses?

Fencing and its fruits are eaten by birds and other animals.

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