Print this page

Australian native cactus??

There are no cacti native to the Australian continent but introduced ones have naturalised since colonial days.

There are however two notable examples of Australian native plants that are often mistaken for cacti or being very cactus-like in appearance.

They are Daviesia euphorbioides and Lawrencia helmsii.

These are totally unrelated to cacti or each other, but both appeal to cactus and succulent enthusiasts as well as people who have an eye for unusual and interesting Australian flora.

Other factors also link these very different plants for this article including:

  • Both are endemic to Western Australia.
  • Both are found in dry exposed poor soils.
  • Both are shrubs with candelabra-shaped growth which superficially give the plants a ‘cactus look’.

Daviesia euphorbioides
Daviesia euphorbioides

Short multi-branched shrub, 500 - 800 mm in height and 500 mm - 1 m in diameter. Rigid, mostly ascending leafless stems with short sharp thorns..

Lawrencia helmsii
Lawrencia helmsii

Erect candelabra-shaped shrub to 1.5 m in height (often referred to as ‘cactus-like’). Very small fleshy or succulent green leaves can appear mottled or spotty..