Pine cone cactus

Pine cone cactus

Tephrocactus articulatus

Common Name:

Pine cone cactus

Scientific Name:

Tephrocactus articulatus

Alternative common names:

Paper-spine cholla.


Pine cone cactus is a species of cactus in the subfamily Opuntioideae of the Cactaceae family of plants. It grows branches up to one foot tall with white flowers. It invades dry and seasonal watercourses, drainage lines and disturbed sites around human habitation.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Western Argentina.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA - Category 1a

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape and Northern Cape.

How does it spread?

It is dispersed by wind and water.

Why is it a problem?

The spines and glochids cause skin irritation.

What does it look like?

Leaves: None.

Flowers: White to faintly pinkish, 45mm long, similar to the Opuntia species.

Fruit/seeds: Globose, dry-walled, 10-15mm long, opening irregularly to release corky and winged seeds.

Does the plant have any uses?

It is cultivated for ornamental use.

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