Click on images to enlarge
infestation in a brigalow woodland (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
fleshy, angled, stem segments covered in spines (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of spines (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
stems damaged by the mealybug Hypogeococcus festerianus (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Acanthocereus tetragonus (L.) Hummelinck
Acanthocereus pentagonus (L.) Brit. & RoseCactus pentagonus L.Cereus pentagonus (L.) Haw.
barbed wire cereus, barbed-wire cactus, sword cactus, sword pear, sword-pear, triangle cactus
Native to south-eastern USA (i.e. Florida and Texas), Mexico, Central America (i.e. Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), the Caribbean and northern South America (i.e. Venezuela).
Naturalised in central Queensland. Also naturalised overseas in Hawaii and New Caledonia.
Sword pear (Acanthocereus tetragonus) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland. This species currently a problem plant in the semi-arid rangelands of central Queensland, particularly in brigalow woodlands. However, it is also thought to have significant potential as an environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory.
It has escaped cultivation as a garden ornamental, as have many other introduced cacti, and is most problematic in the Gogango area west of Rockhampton. Sword pear (Acanthocereus tetragonus) is also regarded as a priority weed species in the Emerald Shire, where it is a declared pest plant under local law. A single population is present in this shire, at Fernlees south of Emerald. Some biological control of this species is provided by a mealy bug (i.e. Hypogeococcus festerianus) that was introduced to control harrisia cactus (Harrisia martinii).
Sword pear (Acanthocereus tetragonus) is also naturalised in dry secondary scrubland on the southern coast of Kauai in Hawaii.
Fact sheets are available from Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) service centres and our Customer Service Centre (telephone 13 25 23). Check our website at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au to ensure you have the latest version of this fact sheet. The control methods referred to in this fact sheet should be used in accordance with the restrictions (federal and state legislation, and local government laws) directly or indirectly related to each control method. These restrictions may prevent the use of one or more of the methods referred to, depending on individual circumstances. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this information, DEEDI does not invite reliance upon it, nor accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by actions based on it.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. Identic Pty Ltd. Special edition of Environmental Weeds of Australia for Biosecurity Queensland.
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