A primitive leafy cactus with climbing woody stems. Native to tropical America, Barbados gooseberry thrives in warm climates. It adapts to a wide variety of environmental conditions. Viable seeds are spread by water, birds (surviving passage through the gut), and by humans.
Spreads rapidly to form dense, thorny, impenetrable thickets effectively smothering other vegetation. Gardens have been abandoned due to the overwhelming invasions. Stems and detached leaves stay alive and can form roots months after removal from the parent plant. Extreme thorniness and vigorous growth from small plant fragments make control of large infestations difficult. It is listed as a noxious weed in South Africa.
*This is a BIISC target species and a plant pono no grow species. If found on Hawaii island, call the Big Island Invasive Species Committee to arrange a free removal and plant replacement.
Description and Dispersal:
- A primitive leafy cactus with climbing woody stems
- Succulent leaves are alternately arranged
- Leaves vary in color from green to red to yellow to purple
- White flowers grow in clusters and are strongly scented
- Orange fruits covered with spines containing many seeds inside
- Numerous thorns, hooks and spines
- Reproduces by seed and vegetative fragments