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


The Beading Gem said...

I really enjoyed reading about Australian flora - very interesting. Great post!

Bernie said...

Imagine stepping into one of these accidently, I used to cry out with pain as a child when I stood on the olde North Queensland Sensitive Weed. (A little lacy leafed ground plant which has nasty spikes under its leaves - worst part is you can't see the plant after its been stood on cause the leaves all close up. Hence the name Sensitive weed.)
A good weed is a dead