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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Night-blooming cereus

Hylocereus undatus

Common name:

Night-blooming cereus

Scientific name:

Hylocereus undatus

Alternative common names:

White-fleshed pitaya, dragon fruit, belle of the night, red pitahaya, strawberry pear.

Dragon fruit is fast growing vine-like cactus, often growing in trees and other elevated structures. It is planted as a garden ornamental because of its large white flowers and edible fruit, but can become invasive.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Likely originated from Mexico and Central America.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 2

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.

    How does it spread?

    Plants spread by vegetative means, people plant it for the consumption of its fruit. Birds are known to eat the fruit and disperse its seeds.

    Why is it a problem?

    This species is particularly invasive in KwaZulu-Natal and could have some ecological impacts.

    What does it look like?

    Leaves: Leaves not present, but instead has segmented, three-ribbed branches 4-7,5cm in diameter. These branches can produce aerial roots. Central spines may be present or absent, if present, they are small – 3-6mm long. Flowers: White in colour and 25-30 cm wide Fruit/seeds: Oblong, red fruit with scales and a fleshy edible white pulp inside, embedded with small black seeds.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Used both as ornamental vine due to its large white flowers which bloom at night. The fruit is also edible and grown commercially in many parts of the world. There is interest in the commercial production of fruit from this cactus in South Africa.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more