Hudson Pear, an invasive cactus species originating in Mexico, is on the move in north western NSW. It is believed to have spread from a cactus nursery at Grawin, near Lightning Ridge in the late 1960s.
Its vicious spines penetrate footwear and vehicle tyres. They injure humans, livestock and native animals, causing infections which can be fatal if not treated. If an animal or bird gets caught in a plant that is where they stay.
It only takes a 1cm segment of Hudson pear to be carried onto a property by flood, wind, animal, footwear or vehicle and, no matter how dry and sandy the soil, plants spring up and thrive. In its smaller stages it is very hard to find.
This pear has now been found in the Pilliga and also at Quanda where the Inland Rail is proposed to cross the Tooraweenah Road. Farmers fear that fly in fly out workers contracted to work on the Inland Rail, Narrabri Gas Project and the pipelines will spread this dreadful plant around the northwest of NSW and beyond.
The NSW Government is so worried about this plant they are giving chemicals away to farmers to try to control it.
It is a major biosecurity threat and if left unchecked, it will reduce the viability of agricultural land and severely impact biodiversity. Recent flooding may spread Hudson Pear into the Darling River system.
If you see this plant please contact NSW DPI Weeds Hotline on 1800 680 244
More information from the NSW Department of Primary Industry
Image courtesy of NSW Farmers Association