Cylindropuntia imbricata (Haw.) F.M.Knuth

Devil's Rope

Kaktus-ABC 125 (1935) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Introduced

Arborescent shrub to c. 3 m high, much-branched above the cylindric (to c. 23 cm diam.), woody trunk. Terminal cladodes cylindric, tuberculate, 5–35 cm long, 2–3.5 cm diam., glabrous, dark green to grey-green; tubercles prominent, 2–5 cm long, 4.5–9 mm wide, 6–12 mm high; areoles 1.2–2.5 cm apart, apical on tubercles, filled with short dense white or brownish wool and small yellow glochids; spines 2–30 per areole, spreading, to 3 cm long, 0.2–0.5 mm wide near base, pale yellow, each covered by a papery, pale yellowish sheath 1–2 mm diam. Flowers 3–7.5 cm diam.; sepaloids purple, streaked green; petaloids spreading, purple; staminal filaments purple, anthers pale yellow; style purple, stigmas pale yellow to white; hypanthium tuberculate. Fruit obovoid, deeply depressed at apex, 2.5–7 cm long, 2.5–4 cm diam., strongly tuberculate, with few deciduous spines, green to yellow, dry, commonly proliferating.  Flowers late spring–summer.

*MuM. MuM. Also naturalised in WA, SA, Qld., NSW. Native to south-central USA and central Mexico.  . Noted from a few roadsides and old tip sites in the Mildura and Manangatang districts.

A number of infraspecific taxa have been described. The populations are known to be very polymorphic, and as yet this variation has not been addressed taxonomically. Consequently no infraspecific names are recognised here, although Australian plants are apparently referrable to the type form (Chinnock 2015).

Created by: Neville Walsh, 2017-04-04
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-01-08

Chinnock, R.J. (2015). Feral opuntioid cacti in Australia: Part 1. Cylindrical-stemmed genera: Austrocylindropuntia, Cylindropintia and Corynopuntia, State Herbarium of South Australia.

Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Cactaceae
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Cylindropuntia imbricata in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Cylindropuntia imbricata in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales