Velvety tree pear (Opuntia tomentosa)

Also known as: prickly pear, tree pear, velvet tree pear

Velvety tree pear is a tall tree-like cactus that is often spineless, but covered in fine hairs. It outcompetes pasture grasses and native plants.

Profile

What does it look like?

Velvety tree pear is a tree-like cactus with a trunk and is 2 - 6 m tall. It has a distinctive velvety covering on the stem segments (claddodes) which are 15–30 cm long and  6–12 cm wide. Flowering is in late spring to summer and the orange flowers are 4 -5 cm in diameter. The fruit are pear shaped, 5 cm long, covered in velvety hairs and red when ripe. Spines are sometimes present on younger segments.

Where is it found?

Velvet tree pear is most common in the North West of NSW, especially areas close to the Queensland border. It has also been found in the greater Sydney region.

It grows in sub-tropical, semi-arid and warmer temperate climates. Velvet tree pear is a native plant in central Mexico.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Velvety tree pear during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2021)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

How does it spread?

Velvet tree pear produces seeds and can also grow from fallen stem segments, fruit and flowers. Plant parts and seeds can be spread by water. 

More information

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Control

Velvety tree pear can be controlled biologically using cochineal, Dactylopius tomentosus. Felling of large plants once cochineal is established often results in more rapid control compared with unfelled plants. The cactoblastis moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, causes little damage to large plants but causes significant damage to small plants and seedlings.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 14442 Expires 30/06/2023
Picloram 100 g/L + Triclopyr 300 g/L + Aminopyralid 8 g/L (Grazon Extra®)
Rate: 500 mL in 100 L of water
Comments: Apply as a thorough foliar spray
Withholding period: Where product is used to control woody weeds in pastures there is a restriction of 12 weeks for use of treated pastures for making hay and silage; using hay or other plant material for compost, mulch or mushroom substrate; or using animal waste from animals grazing on treated pastures for compost, mulching, or spreading on pasture/crops.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 14442 Expires 30/06/2023
Triclopyr 300 g/L + Picloram 100 g/L (Grazon® DS)
Rate: 500 mL per 100 L of water
Comments: Apply as a thorough foliar spray
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Triclopyr 240 g/L + Picloram 120 g/L (Access™ )
Rate: 1 L per 60 L of diesel
Comments: Apply thoroughly as a foliar spray.
Withholding period: Nil
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
All of NSW Prohibition on dealings
Must not be imported into the State or sold
Central West Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Core infestations: Land managers should mitigate spread from their land.
This Regional Recommended Measure applies to all species of Opuntia except for Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian fig)
South East
Core infestation area: whole region except the exclusion zone of Wollongong, Kiama, and Shellharbour, and Eurobadalla
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Core infestation: Land managers should mitigate spread from their land.
This Regional Recommended Measure applies to all species of Opuntia except for Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian fig)
Western Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers mitigate the risk of the plant spreading from their land. Land managers mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Land managers reduced impact of the plant on priority assets (grazing, conservation and urban areas). The plant or parts of the plant are not traded, carried, grown or released into the environment.
This Regional Recommended Measure applies to all species of Opuntia except for Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian fig)
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2018