Alternative common names:
Roseakaktus (Afrikaans), thistle cholla, sheathed cholla and Cracow pear.
The rosea cactus is a branched, densely spiny, shrub-like succulent, growing up to 1.5m high. If allowed to spread, it has the potential to replace more useful species and affect the pastoral value and natural biodiversity of semi-arid plant communities. It is costly and time-consuming to control.
Where does this species come from?Mexico.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?CARA 1. Not on NEMBA 2020 legislation.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Free State, North West, Western Cape, Northern Cape.
How does it spread?Spreads via animals, vehicles and people.
Why is it a problem?
Competes with and replaces indigenous species and reduces grazing potential. The barbed spines can cause severe injuries to animals. Can drastically reduce the productivity of farm land.
What does it look like?
It is a densely branched cactus growing up to 1.5m high and 3m wide. The extremely sharp spines are 4.5cm long, enclosed in whitish, papery sheaths.
Leaves: No leaves.
Flowers: These are pink to purple and 5cm wide.
Fruit/seeds: It produces oval-shaped fruit up to 4.5cm long, yellow when ripe.
Does the plant have any uses?