First National Invasive Cacti Forum

It was an instructive experience to attend the first National Invasive Cacti Forum held at the Waite precinct of Adelaide University. Some of the positive points I was pleased to note were:

  • There were highly qualified and experienced representatives from WA, SA, NSW, ACT and QLD present.

  • Wheel cactus was high on the agenda but not the only cactus of concern.

  • Wheel cactus is now on the list of Opuntioid cacti that is considered suitable for bio-control.

  • The outbreak of wheel cactus in the Flinders Ranges is steadily being brought under control: contractors spraying with Grazon with volunteers mapping and mopping up being their method of control.

  • From work done in South Africa there is a lot more understood about the cellular structure of wheel cactus and of its predators.

  • A spontaneous destructive outbreak of cochineal beetle has occurred on stored wheel cactus on a property in the Flinders Ranges. This is being nurtured and developed with a view to possible biological control.

  • A South Australian Opuntioid Management Plan was launched.

On the negative side I was disappointed to see that I and another Land Care member from Nuggety were the only Victorian representatives: no government, academic or scientific people at all so as I did the overview for Victoria, I had to explain mine was a report from “on the ground” It was a very good day, good to see a problem being really worked at.

Article by Janet Richardson – Wychitella and District Landcare Group