Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Aussie Opal Miners Protect Digs.
Recently out at a place called Mundubbera approx. 390 kms north west of Brisbane, Queensland, there's been a discovery of an outbreak of a very vicious plant - The Hudson Pear. A cactus, bought to Australia from Mexico as a garden plant, is so vicious that it's spikes have been known to cause serious injury and even death when a fella fell into a patch at Lightning Ridge (one of Australia's Opal Mining communities) and had a heart attack. It's spines or spikes are so tough they can penetrate boots and car tyres and need to be removed with a pair pliers.
The Cactus was first reported in New South Wales in the 1960's. According to various sources, it spread from a Cactus nursery but was further assisted by Opal Miners deliberately planting it around their diggings to keep thieves away.
In New South Wales reports estimate that this pest now covers up to 100,000 hectares of land, rendering the land useless. It is capable of spreading easily as new plants can grow from segments of any size. It is also found in Southern and Western Australia and has naturalised in South Africa. Two herbicides are however currently available for treating the Cactus.
Pic courtesy of NSW DPI