Garden plants - Unethical Nursery Sales

Most of us enjoy a great garden. Some of us are even great gardeners.

The Hudson Pear Cactus - common name was brought into Australia as a garden plant in the 1990’s. Amazingly with all Australia’s strict biological and quarantine controls no one saw this as a risk. No doubt an enterprising nursery business saw this as a free market opportunity.

Those that made the early profits from the sales of the plant may lament their market has been lost. The plant has been classified by several states including NSW and Qld as a restricted invasive plant. It cannot be sold, propagated or passed on etc.

It has now taken over large areas of land in western NSW. This is a long way from where it was first sold as a garden plant.

The cost of dealing with it as a weed does not go back to the original importer or the nurseries that sold the plant or an insurance policy. The cost goes to the land owners in the west and the NSW Govt. Some of this will come out of government revenue, tax paying consumers.

Perhaps before we all buy a new plant at Bunnings or the local nursery or take a cutting from a neighbour we also need to ask. Can the fruit or seeds of this plant be eaten or carried by wild life? If so it will one day grow somewhere else it does not belong.

Should the nursery and plant industry sell plants that can propogate elsewhere? Currently the industry hides behind state govt declared lists of weed species. If it is not a declared restricted species it can still be sold!

Should they be stricter controls on what nurseries can sell and should the importer of any new plant be required to indemnify the state against future environmental damage?

What would an ethical nursery advise and sell?


After the prickly pear caused havoc to our agricultural industry around a century ago, who would have expected history to repeat itself?

Surely any new variety of cactus should have been screened with a fine tooth comb before importing was allowed, if at all.

Hopefully the cochineal insect will be able to destroy the cactus once again.

To my knowledge, it is the only biological control animal or insect that actually achieved what its release was intended to do and did not turn into a pest itself.


More good luck than good management perhaps. Australia despite being
blessed with deserts has no native cacti!


It’s amusing to see peoples reaction to what ‘desert’ means when they come out here - but there’s still plenty of spikey things for them to dance with, both flora and fauna :wink: