Deadly Cactus

150_cactusA cactus has been found growing in Australia with spines tough enough to penetrate tires! It’s been known to kill koalas, who develop infections because the spines are so difficult to remove.
Once spines of the hudson pear cactus penetrate the skin, they often require pliers to pull them out. It is potentially the worst cactus species to spread in Australia since prickly pear in the 1920s.

Primary Industries Department Biosecurity Queensland land protection officer Jodie Sippel said yesterday there was anecdotal evidence the cactus had caused a fatality at Lightning Ridge in NSW when a person fell into a clump of pear and had a heart attack.

The Hudson pear cactus is an invasive species native to Mexico. Link -via J-Walk Blog

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OK, I got curious and looked it up from an Austalian gov't web site:

"Hudson pear was first detected in Australia in the Lightning Ridge area during the late 1960s. It is believed to have spread from a cactus nursery at Grawin. Some reports state that this process was aided by opal miners who deliberately used the plants to protect their diggings from nocturnal prowlers and thieves but these are unable to be verified."

There ya go. Some dopey nurseryman brought them in for people to put in their gardens.
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