In Australia The Prickly Pear is a noxious weed, but I can’t help noticing how beautiful it is when it’s in fruit.
Prickly Pear is one of the most invasive weeds ever imported into Australia.
It was first recorded as being cultivated for stock fodder in the Parramatta district in the early 1800’s. There is also a record of a pot plant being taken to Scone, NSW in 1839 where it was grown in a station garden. The property manager later planted it in various paddocks with the idea that it would be a good stand-by for stock in a drought year.
It has also been recorded that a plant of common pear was taken from Sydney to Warwick, Queensland in 1848 for use as a garden plant, with a strong recommendation that it would be a good fruiting and hedge plant!
From garden plants to hedges and then into the paddock, prickly pear became acclimatised and spread at an alarming rate. Many people were forced off their lands.
Early settlers took plants to other parts of New South Wales and Queensland because of its potential use as an alternate food source for stock, especially during dry times. It was also planted at various homesteads as a hedge. The hedges flourished and bore fruit. Excess pieces were dumped in the bush. With all this help, prickly pear quickly established over a large area.
Prickly pear literally exploded! The accommodating climate and the general lack of natural enemies accounted for its amazing spread – still considered by many experts to be one of the botanical wonders of the world.
[canon 1000D, 50mm, F/4, processed in Lightroom, CS3, textures of my own & Thanks to ifdezelle ]