Opuntia tomentosa

Opuntia tomentosa.

The Velvet pear tree is naturalised and widespread in Southern Queensland.
They are tree-like with a single woody trunk up to 6 or 8 m high.
The side branches are themselves much-banched.
The succulent stems are divided into flattened, grey-green segments.
The oblong, elliptic or obovate segments are up to 35 cm long and around 15 cm wide.

The small, raised areoles have yellow glochids up to 5 mm long.
Young segments have 1 to several grey spines that up to 2.5 cm long.
Older segments have no spines or a few short ones.
Only young segments have a green, conical leaf around 5 mm long at each areole.

The characteristic feature of these cacti is the presence of fine, dense, velvety hairs.
They are seen on young and old segments and also on the leaves.

The solitary, stalk-less flowers, up to 5 cm wide, arise from areoles on the segment edges.
The outer tepals are green, the next are orange with a red streak on the outer surface
    and the inner ones are just orange.
The numerous stamens are shorter than the tepals.
The ovary is inferior and has a single locule.
The style has 5 or more stigmas.

The fruit are fleshy, pear-shaped berries up to 5 cm long.
The tip is depressed and has tufts of glochids and there are areoles on the sides.
The whole surface is covered in velvety hairs.
They mature from green to reddish-purple.
There are many small seeds in the reddish pulp.