Opuntia vulgaris

Opuntia vulgaris.

It is also known as Opuntia monacantha.

The Drooping pear tree has been recorded in the Brisbane area.
They can be shrubby plants but often have a single trunk up to 5 m high.
The trunk is woody and densely covered in long spines.

The drooping, flattened, branching side stems are segmented and fleshy.
Segments are pale or grey-green, oblong to obovate and up to 45 cm long.
Segment bases are flattened (not cylindrical) and are not easily pulled off.

The areoles have glochids but the rest of the segment surface has no hairs.
Areoles also have 1 or 2 (5) spines up to 3 (5) cm long.
The younger segments may have no spines.
The small, scale-like leaves are just below the areoles but only on young segments.

The single, 5 to 6 cm wide flowers are on the segment edges.
The bright yellow tepals have red areas on the outer surface.
The inferior ovary is enclosed in fleshy receptacular tissue from the stem.

The fruit are pear-shaped or roundish berries around 6 cm long.
The surface has areoles with glochids.
They are purplish-red when mature and the seeds are in a red pulp.
New plants can grow from fallen segments or fruit.