Opuntia monacantha Haw.

Drooping Prickly-pear

Suppl. Pl. Succ. 81 (1819) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect to arborescent shrub to c. 3.5 m high, trunk usually well-developed, to c. 25 cm diam. Terminal cladodes often drooping, compressed, obovate, narrowed toward base, relatively thin, 10–45 cm long, 6–15 cm wide, glabrous, glossy green; margins sinuate; areoles 2–4(–6) cm apart, filled with whitish wool and yellow to reddish-brown glochids; spines mostly 1 or 2 per areole, 25–50 mm long (up to 12 per areole and to 10 cm long on trunk), 0.7–1.5 mm diam. near base, straight, rigid, spreading, white to brown with yellow or red markings, or reddish. Flowers 3–7 cm diam.; sepaloids tinged crimson; petaloids spreading, yellow, the outer ones tinged crimson; staminal filaments pale yellow; style whitish, stigmas pale yellow; hypanthium more or less tuberculate. Fruit obovoid, shallowly depressed at apex, 4–7.5 cm long, 2–4 cm diam., smooth, spineless, reddish-purple, usually greenish toward base, juicy, long-persistent, often proliferating. Flowers late spring–summer.

*CVU, *GipP, *Gold, *MuM, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Also WA, SA, Qld, NSW. Of scattered occurrence from Lake Londsale in the west to near Bairnsdale (e.g. banks of Yarra, Plenty and Werribee Rivers).

Created by: Val Stajsic, 2017-05-23
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2017-05-24
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Cactaceae
genus Opuntia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Opuntia monacantha in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Opuntia monacantha in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present introduced
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales