Moon Cactus or Toukaktus




Widespread problem

Moon Cactus or Toukaktus (Harrisia Martinii) Harrisia martinii (moon cactus or toukaktus), originating from South America (Argentina), was probably introduced into South Africa as an ornamental plant. It has now become a widespread problem, especially in savanna areas. Within the KNP Harrisia martinii has been found along the Crocodile River, just upstream of the old Komatipoort sewerage works.

Identification Description: Spiny succulent shrub, 1 to 3 meters high, with long, clambering multi-branched stems. Stems often arching downwards and rooting were touching the ground. Cladodes bright green, cylindrical, ribbed resembling plaited rope. Leaves: none. Flowers: White, nocturnal. Flowers mainly from November to January. Fruits: Bright pinkish red succulent berries, with small black seeds inside.

Damage: Harrisia martinii can be found sprawling over and smothering indigenous vegetation. Control: Effective biological control agents are available, as well as registered herbicides. Contact address: Please report any sightings of Harrisia martinii in and adjacent to the Kruger National Park to: Alien Biota Section, Private Bag X402, Skukuza, 1350 Tel: (013) 735 4114 Fax: (013) 735 4055 E-mail: aliens@parks-sa.co.za



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