Small round-leaved prickly pear
Common names: Small round-leaved prickly pear (E); kleinrondeblaarturksvy (A)
Origin: North America
Erect to semi-erect succulent shrub up to 1.5 m high. Cladodes (stem segments) round to broadly egg-shaped, smooth, often waxy-looking. Cushions at base of spines dark, each usually carrying 2 to 5 long, flattened spines that are red-brown at the base becoming straw-coloured towards the tips, and numerous, densely packed, shorter yellow-orange glochidia (bristles) around the base of the spines. The glochidia are particularly dense on the edges of the cladodes. Flowers yellow, rarely red. Fruit fleshy, egg-shaped, green becoming purple when ripe, almost spineless, cushions with short glochidia/bristles; pulp purple when ripe; seeds flat, tan to greyish.
This dangerously invasive species can form dense stands. Biocontrol of this species is already done in Namibia but long range dispersal of the control insect has to be done by man.