Common name: Drooping Pear, Smooth Tree Pear
Opuntia monacantha (Willd.) Haw. APNI*
Synonyms: Opuntia vulgaris Mill. APNI*
Description: Tree-like plant. Segments ± oblong, compressed, 12–15 cm long, light green and glossy, the upper segments tending to droop.
Leaves 2–3 mm long. Areoles filled with short woolly hairs; glochids brownish; spines 1–4 cm long, erect, usually 2 at most areoles, yellowish to red-brown.
Flowers 3–6 cm diam., perianth yellow with outer segments often with red stripes.
Fruit obovoid, 5–7 cm long, red-purple.
Distribution and occurrence: Chiefly along coastal streams, previously more widespread. Native of S Amer.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NWP
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *S.A.
At one time this was the most widely naturalized prickly pear in Australia, in N.S.W. it has been eradicated from inland districts.
Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept: B.E. Leuenberger (1993)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.