Dragonfruit in North Queensland

This post is little more than a footnote to my post about dragonfruit in Bali but I thought I would keep it separate.

We saw dragonfruit growing in a plot among mangoes down near Giru yesterday, the first we have seen growing here. There were far too many for domestic use or even a Cotters Market stall, so we assume the farmer supplies local greengrocers.

dragonfruit
Dragonfruit near Giru

We were with a long-time conservationist when we saw the plot and she was not at all happy about the plant, telling us that it had long been, and still was, a very serious environmental pest on Lady Elliot Island near Bundaberg.

She sent me this photo later and it certainly makes the point:

feral dragonfruit on Lady Elliot Island
This is ‘a very small part’ of the dragon fruit infestation on Lady Elliot Island. Photo courtesy Jo Wieneke

The problem, of course, is that cacti, like many other succulents, will regrow from any small fragment. That’s great if you want to propagate them but if you drop one ‘leaf’ while cleaning up feral plants, you can come back to find a whole new plant. Prickly pear, probably our worst botanical pest ever, is a case in point; Mother of Millions does the same.

The difference between a plant ‘doing well’ and running amok is often quite small and we need to be more cautious. I do hope the people behind the proposed agave plantation on the Tablelands have done their homework.

Updated 5.8.17

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A footnote to a footnote: Prickly Pear is a pest in the US but they do not appear to be using our famous Cactoblastis as a bio-control. I wonder why not?

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