Global invasive species database

  • General
  • Distribution
  • Impact
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Common name
common prickly pear (English), lauaufai va (Samoan), prickly pear (English, Ascension, Saint Helena), drooping prickly pear (English), red tungy (English, Ascension, Saint Helena), round red prickly pear (English), red tungi (English), Opuntia (English, Ascension, Saint Helena)
Synonym
Opuntia humifusa , Raf.
Opuntia vulgaris , auct. non P. Mill.
Similar species
Opuntia cochenillifera
Summary
Species Description
Opuntia monacantha are shrubs or small trees up to 4 meters tall; joints glossy green when fresh, narrowly obovate to oblong-lanceolate; base somewhat cuneate, 10 to 35 centimeters long, 7.5 to 12.5 centimeters wide, margins undulate toward apex. Areoles with 1 to 3 gray or yellowish to reddish brown spines with darker tips, 1 to 7.5 centimeters, trunk areoles with 10 or more spines. Flowers 7.5 to 10 centimeters long, 5 to 7.5 centimeters in diameter; outer perianth parts yellow with a reddish median stripe, 18 to 25 milimeters long, 12 to 15 milimeters wide, inner perianth parts yellow to orange, rotate, 25 to 40 milimeters long, 12 to 40 milimeters wide; staminal filaments green to white; style green, 12 to 20 milimeters long; stigma lobes 8 to 10, cream yellow. Berries reddish purple, fleshy, conical to obovoid, 5 to 7.5 centimeters long, 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter (Wagner et al. 1999, in PIER 2006).
Notes
The accepted name of the common prickly pear is Opuntia monacantha (ITIS 2008), however, the scientific name Opuntia vulgaris is the name most frequently used in the literature reviewed for this profile. In all cases the scientific names used are faithful to the information given in the source.
Uses
The fruits of common prickly pear (Opuntia monacantha) may be consumed by humans. A very strong spirit which tastes of whiskey may be distilled from this plant (Grant 1883). It was introduced to Ascension for the purpose of enriching the soil and preventing the evaporation of moisture (Ascension Island Conservation Centre Undated).
Before synthetic dyes were produced O. monacantha plants were cultivated for the purpose of supporting populations of Dactylopius coccus. When crushed the bodies of this Mexican scale insect produce a carmine-coloured dye.
Habitat Description
Opuntia monacantha is found in dry sites in its introduced range in the Pacific (SPREP 2000). In Fiji it is often found in agricultural or wasteland areas (Smith 1981, in PIER 2006).
Pathway
Opuntia monacantha is cultivated on many islands in the Pacific.

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment

Review:

Publication date: 2010-06-12

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Opuntia monacantha. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1426 on 19-11-2018.

General Impacts
The Global Compendium of Weeds (2007) describes Opuntia monacantha as an \"agricultural weed\", \"cultivation escape\", \"environmental weed\" and \"noxious weed\".
Management Info
Biological: Cochineal (Dactylopius spp.) and Cactoblasts (Cactoblastis spp.) are the two most important biological control agents for prickly pear cacti. The two attack the cactus in a totally different manner. Cochineal species attach to the outside of the plant and sucks the moisture out of the plant. Cactoblasts are black and yellow striped grubs that tunnel into and devour the inside of the plant (North West Weeds 2007). Cactoblastis oviposits by gluing sticks of about 50 to 90 eggs on cactus spines; the gregarious larvae bore into the pads or cladodes, devouring them from the inside (Stiling 2002). Because of its oligophagous feeding habits Cactoblastis has been successful against a whole range of Opuntia species including 11 species of North American origin (Julien and Griffiths 1998, in Stiling 2002).

Following the release of Cactoblastis cactorum in Australia the prickly pear Opuntia monacantha population collapsed (Dodd 1940, in Stiling 2002). The success of Cactoblastis in Australia was followed by introductions to control pest Opuntia in South Africa, St. Helena, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Kenya and Ascension Island. In 1913 Dactylopius ceylonicus was introduced into South Africa and achieved control of Opuntia vulgaris within a few years. In 1928 D. ceylonicus and Dactylopius opuntiae were used as biological control agents in Mauritius against Opuntia vulgaris and O. Tuna. In 1950 the cactus moth C. cactorum was also introduced in Mauritius for the purpose of controlling O. vulgaris. In 1974 C. cactorum was introduced to Ascension in an attempt to control O. vulgaris (Ascension Island Conservation Centre Undated).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Opuntia monacantha
Informations on Opuntia monacantha has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Opuntia monacantha in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
The Global Compendium of Weeds (2007) describes Opuntia monacantha as an \"agricultural weed\", \"cultivation escape\", \"environmental weed\" and \"noxious weed\".
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
SAINT HELENA
Mechanism
[1] Competition
[1] Interaction with other invasive species
Outcomes
[2] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Reduction in native biodiversity
  • [1] Habitat degradation
Management information
Biological: Cochineal (Dactylopius spp.) and Cactoblasts (Cactoblastis spp.) are the two most important biological control agents for prickly pear cacti. The two attack the cactus in a totally different manner. Cochineal species attach to the outside of the plant and sucks the moisture out of the plant. Cactoblasts are black and yellow striped grubs that tunnel into and devour the inside of the plant (North West Weeds 2007). Cactoblastis oviposits by gluing sticks of about 50 to 90 eggs on cactus spines; the gregarious larvae bore into the pads or cladodes, devouring them from the inside (Stiling 2002). Because of its oligophagous feeding habits Cactoblastis has been successful against a whole range of Opuntia species including 11 species of North American origin (Julien and Griffiths 1998, in Stiling 2002).

Following the release of Cactoblastis cactorum in Australia the prickly pear Opuntia monacantha population collapsed (Dodd 1940, in Stiling 2002). The success of Cactoblastis in Australia was followed by introductions to control pest Opuntia in South Africa, St. Helena, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Kenya and Ascension Island. In 1913 Dactylopius ceylonicus was introduced into South Africa and achieved control of Opuntia vulgaris within a few years. In 1928 D. ceylonicus and Dactylopius opuntiae were used as biological control agents in Mauritius against Opuntia vulgaris and O. Tuna. In 1950 the cactus moth C. cactorum was also introduced in Mauritius for the purpose of controlling O. vulgaris. In 1974 C. cactorum was introduced to Ascension in an attempt to control O. vulgaris (Ascension Island Conservation Centre Undated).

Management Category
Prevention
Control
Bibliography
14 references found for Opuntia monacantha

Managment information
Ascension Island Conservation Centre. Undated. Plants. Green Mountian National Park. Ascension Island Conservation Centre, Georgetown, Ascension Island, South Atlantic Ocean. ASCN 1ZZ
Summary: Available from: http://www.ascensionconservation.org.ac/pdf/6-E-plants-of-Green-Mountain.pdf [Accsessed 28 August 2008]
CAB International 2003, Biological Control in IPM Systems in Africa. (eds. P. Neuenschwander, C. Borgemeister, and J. Langewald)
Summary: Available from: http://www.cabi.org/pdf/books/9780851996394/9780851996394.pdf [Accsessed 28 August 2008]
IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)., 2010. A Compilation of Information Sources for Conservation Managers.
Summary: This compilation of information sources can be sorted on keywords for example: Baits & Lures, Non Target Species, Eradication, Monitoring, Risk Assessment, Weeds, Herbicides etc. This compilation is at present in Excel format, this will be web-enabled as a searchable database shortly. This version of the database has been developed by the IUCN SSC ISSG as part of an Overseas Territories Environmental Programme funded project XOT603 in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment. The compilation is a work under progress, the ISSG will manage, maintain and enhance the database with current and newly published information, reports, journal articles etc.
Stiling, P. 2002. Potential non-target effects of a biological control agent, prickly pear moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in North America, and possible management actions. Biological Invasions 4: 273-281, 2002.
General information
Duffey, Eric. 1964. The terrestrial ecology of Ascention Island, The Journel of Applied Ecology 1 (2)
Summary: Available from: http://www.seaturtle.org/PDF/Duffey_1964_JAppEcol.pdf [Accessed 25 October 2009]
Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW)., 2007. Opuntia vulgaris (Cactaceae)
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/gcw/species/opuntia_vulgaris/ [Accessed 20 August 2008]
Gray, Alan, Tara Pelembe and Stedson Stroud. 2005. The conservation of the endemic vascular flora of Ascension Island and threats from alien species, Oryx 39 (4)
Summary: Available from: http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FORX%2FORX39_04%2FS0030605305001092a.pdf&code=a496b9c9fa1ba28f5d1724b76fbc7feb [Accessed 10 December 2008]
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2009. Online Database Opuntia monacantha (Willd.) Haw.
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=504041 [Accessed 25 October 2009]
North West Weeds. 2007. North West Weeds : Cochineal
Summary: Available from: http://www.northwestweeds.nsw.gov.au/cochineal.htm [Accessed 25 October 2008]
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)., 2006. Opuntia monacantha (Willd.) Haw., Cactaceae
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/Pier/species/opuntia_monacantha.htm [Accessed 10 December 2008]
Contact
The following 0 contacts offer information an advice on Opuntia monacantha