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What is a cactus plant

WHAT IS A CACTUS?

Cactus plants have had to adapt to arid areas because they receive only small, irregular amounts of moisture. One way is they store water in their bodies like a camel and also until it is needed. Our gardens are completely different from the requirements of the cactus growing conditions because of what we are accustomed to seeing.

Rebutia Senilis
Rebutia Senilis

WHAT IS A CACTUS

Giving you an outline of what a cactus is will hopefully be able to cope with their requirements and which, in turn, will make cultivation much easier. Keep in mind that these plants need less water than normal and also object to very low temperatures.

MATUCANA HAYNEI 100MM
MATUCANA HAYNEI 100MM

BOTANICAL CRITERIA

Cacti are stem succulents and whilst it is true that all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti.

The cactus plant must satisfy four botanical criteria

  1. Perennial
  2. Dicotyledon (possessing a two-leaved embryo)
  3. Produced single-celled fruit
  4. An areole–modified axillary bud from which all growth takes place, side branches, flower, and spines.

DESERT CACTUS

Desert Cactus have a prime need to conserve moisture and the shape they have adopted. Providing them with the smallest surface area and maximum volume-, is spherical or globular. The ribs can expand and contract as moisture becomes available without splitting their skins. And also, create a microclimate by casting some shade over the rest of the plant. They can become columnar shape with age.

RAINFORESTS CACTUS

Rainforests Cactus are broad, thin, strap, or leaf-like stems.

Espostoa species
Espostoa species

The sharp spines of the cactus act as dewpoints, and plus help to microclimate around the plant. Reducing the moisture that can be lost through evaporation. With densely spined cacti that look like they are covered in cotton wool come from high altitudes. Where they act as shade in summer and a cocoon in winter. Plus, they help in protecting the body from some animals. The very waxy skin, with few pores, cuts down water loss. But this also has the opposite effect because they can’t absorb moisture through their skin.

MAMMILLARIA MENDELIANA
MAMMILLARIA MENDELIANA

Native cacti are from mainly Americas, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Southern United States, down to Northern and Central South America. Elsewhere in the world, they have been introduced by man.

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