Queen of the night ~ beautiful but bad news!

Cereus jamacaru (Cactaceae)
This is a large, upright, cylindrical cactus species of South American origin that was most probably imported by succulent collectors. Because of its attractive shape, its large, white flowers and edible fruits, it is a popular ornamental plant in many gardens in South Africa. It is also often planted as a hedge. What gardeners do not realize, is that this plant spreads into the surrounding veld and threatens our natural vegetation. The generic name – which means “torch” – refers to the candelabra-like appearance of the plant. Queen of the night is also known as Peruvian apple cactus, while in Afrikaans it is known as “nagblom” or “bobbejaanpaal”.
This cactus invades savanna and rocky ridges and it is classified as CARA 2002 – Category 1 and NEMBA – Category 1b, which necessitates its control, or removal and destruction if possible. Although herbicides exist that can exert effective control, they are not environmentally friendly, and biological control is regarded as the preferred control option.
It is particularly a problem in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, but is seen in other provinces as well. The seeds are spread by birds and monkeys that feed on the fruits.
It competes with and replaces indigenous species, forming dense infestations which reduce the carrying capacity of the land and the many spines on the plants cause injuries to grazing animals.

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