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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.
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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