December 11, 2023

Tiger Pear Cladode Swap

Do you have tiger pear (Cylindropuntia aurantiaca)?

IMG 0131

Tiger pear is extremely hardy, thriving in a range of habitats. This includes the slopes and nearby plains, where large localised infestations still thrive. Segments break from established plants easily and are transported by water, stock and car tyres.

Tiger pear is a spreading or climbing cactus rarely more than 40 cm high.  The plant consists of numerous segments up to 20cm long. Each segment has large spines up to 5 cm long. Flowers are yellow. Fruits are egg-shaped with a depressed top. They are 2.5–3.5 cm long and are red to purple when ripe. Plants form seeds, however, the species is a sterile hybrid and only spreads vegetatively by segments or fruit which root where they contact the ground.

How do I control it?

If you have an infestation of tiger pear contact your local weed officer on how to best control it. If you live in the Narrabri Shire or the Gwydir Shires, you can partake in a cladode swap.

What is a cladode?

Opuntia spp. have succulent, jointed cladodes, which are also known as pads or stem segments. Cladodes are generally flat, cylindrical or occasionally fan shaped and green in colour.

What is a cladode swap?

A cladode swap is when you bring in clean (no soil or ants) fresh (recently collected), undamaged (cleanly broken off) cladodes (segments) and the weed officer will swap you for cladodes infected with Dactylopius austrinus, a cochineal species that specifically targets tiger pear. You can then release these infected cladodes in tiger pear plants that are up wind of your core infestation. As a result, the wind will then disperse the crawlers (juvenile cochineal) onto the surrounding plants. Make sure you securely place the cladodes in the plants by using a pair of long handled tongs.

Who should I contact?

Narrabri Shire Council area Weed Officer Clare Felton-Taylor on 0427 294 771 or Chris Watkins on 0429 202 205

Gwydir Shire Council area Weed Officer Scott McLachlan on 0428 305 364 or Adrian Wood 0448 181 321