Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica (Lam.) Backeb.

Cactaceae (Berlin) 1941(2):12 (1942)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status


IBRA Regions
IBRA Subregions
Western Mallee.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

Alternative Names. Austrocylindropuntia spp..

General Biology. Growth form. Shrub/Small Tree. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Stem or fruit fragments or seed.. Dispersal. Stem and fruit fragments readily attach to animals, footwear and vehicles and easily transported to new sites. They are also distributed by washing down waterways, floodwaters or in dumped garden waste.. Time of first flowering. 3 years. Type of stem. Succulent. Seedbank persistence. 10 to 20 years. Fire response. May not be killed in fire, may result in vigorous regrowth following fire. Very small plants and seeds will be destroyed in the hot fire..

Notes. Austrocylindropuntia differs from Cylindropuntia in that the spines lack papery sheaths. The stems also grow without distinct segments between growth points. Flowers are yellow, orange, or red on stout spiny floral tubes. Fruits are thick and rounded..

Additional information. Origin. native to South America.. History of use/introduction. Species was brought to Australia on the First Fleet with the intention of establishing a cochineal industry as these species are hosts for the cochineal insects.. Similar native species. Austrocylindropuntia, Opuntia, Cylindropuntia spp..

Suggested method of management and control. For small outbreaks and for scattered plants burying, burning or chemical control is preferable. Repeated ploughing/cultivation destroys Austrocylindropuntia spp. (the pieces eventually give up if damaged and/or disturbed often enough). There are several effective herbicides available. Austrocylindropuntia spp. has been recognised as a target for biological control through a cross-jurisdictional government process. This allows activities to be undertaken to develop effective biological controls. Biological control can be used for controlling large outbreaks or dense patches. Cochineal Insect (Dactylopious tomentosus) is most effective in drier warmer areas. It was introduced from the southern part of the United States in 1925 and 1926. It is effective but works slowly. Once established the insect will spread to new segments and adjacent plants. Cochineal Insect can also be spread manually by placing a few cochineal infected segments on unaffected plants. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Flowering Y Y O O         O Y Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y Y Y O           O Y  
Germination O O O O O O O O O O O O  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.