Prickly pear is a common name that refers to a number of large cactus species of the Cactaceae family that is endemic to the Americas. The shrubby, spine-covered plant grows to over twenty feet tall, and given the chance they would quickly colonize any hot, open lands with sandy soil.
The prickly pear is considered an invasive species in most parts of the world, but Governor Phillip at Port Jackson wouldn’t have known that when he authorized the introduction of prickly pear to the British colonies in Australia in the late 18th century.
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A property in Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia, infested with prickly pear in 1928. Photo: State Library of Queensland/Flickr