100 Amazing Facts About Cactus

Facts About Cactus: A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. The word cactus derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek word κάκτος, a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is now not certain.

100 Amazing Facts About Cactus

Interesting Facts About Cactus

  • Some cactus are… poisonous!
  • Cactus stomata open only during the night.
  • Cactus can live a whole year without rain.
  • Cactus “die” -usually- because they are… old!
  • Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water.
  • Cacti occur in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
  • Cacti come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
  • The smallest living cactus is the Blossfeldia liliputiana.
  • Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought.
  • Cochineal is the product of an insect that lives on some cacti.
  • The Cactaceae plant family contains over 1,750 species of cacti.
  • In the absence of leaves, enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis.
  • In tropical regions, other cacti grow as forest climbers and epiphytes
  • Some cactus flowers bloom for only a day, while others last for weeks.
  • The word “cactus” derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek kaktos.
  • The largest living cactus is the elephant cactus (Pachycereus pringlei).
  • The flowers and spines on a cactus can vary in color and size by species.
  • Cactus is the name of plant that is the member of the plant family Cactaceae.
  • Cactus grows big flowers which can be yellow, red, pink, white, orange, or blue
  • The lifespan of a cactus varies by species and ranges between 15 and 300 years.
  • Cacti are found in North America, South America, Africa and a small part of Asia.

Fun Facts About Cactus

  • Some cactus plants live for only fifteen years, but some live to be as old as 300.
  •  Pereskia is considered close to the ancestral species from which all cacti evolved.
  • The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of 127 genera in the Cactaceae plant family.
  • Cacti are known for their sharp spines and ability to survive in very dry environments.
  • The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of two subfamilies, Opuntioideae or Cactoideae.
  • Its plural is not only cactuses. Its plural is cacti, cactuses, or less commonly, cactus.
  • Some species of cacti can produce hallucinations due to psychoactive agents they produce.
  • The smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter at maturity.
  • A cactus is typically green, but some species have a green-bluish or green-brownish color.
  • Some types of cactus grow fruit that are red or yellow when they are ripe and ready to eat. 
  • A cactus is classified as a succulent plant, which means it can store large amounts of water.
  • Cacti are a popular ornament plant and many species are grown indoors and outdoors by humans.
  • The flowers of cactus plants are usually pollinated by bees, butterflies, moths, and even bats.
  • It was a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is now not certain.
  • Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water.
  • Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves.
  • As a succulent plant, a cactus can store water and thrive in very hot and dry climates, like a desert.
  • Cactus spines are produced from specialized structures called areoles, a kind of highly reduced branch.
  • The roots are only 1.3 cm deep, hence it doesn’t take long for the rainwater to reach them for absorption.
  • Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place.

Facts About Cactus in The Desert

  • The tallestfree-standing cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m (63 ft).
  • Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.
  • The spines are able to collect hints of water from the wind! Just another miracle of adaptation that’s hard to fathom.
  • Some cactus can live up to 200 years, despite harsh desert conditions! So surely, they can survive a few years in your household, too?
  • When you have more than one cactus, it’s correct to call them cactuses or cactus! And all this time, you assumed “cactuses” was a typo.
  • As well as defending against herbivores, spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade.
  • Like other succulent plants, most cacti employ a special mechanism called “crassulacean acid metabolism” (CAM) as part of photosynthesis. 
  • A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales.
  • Cactus spines are not thorns; they’re highly modified leaves! But yes, even cactus caretakers have been known to call them “thorns” a time or two.
  •  A fully grown saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is said to be able to absorb as much as 200 U.S. gallons (760 l; 170 imp gal) of water during a rainstorm.
  • The elephant cactus has an average height of 30 feet. There have been verified specimens of the elephant cactus that have reached a height of 60 feet.

Facts About Cactus for Kids

  • The spines also provide shade to help slow evaporation! When you’re living in the desert with its merciless sun, even wee bits of shade are appreciated.
  • Some cactus fruits and pads are delicious, plus nutritious! Then again, others are toxic, so make sure you know the difference before you boil or fry them.
  • Cactus stems are often ribbed or fluted, which allows them to expand and contract easily for quick water absorption after rain, followed by long drought periods.
  • Cacti have a variety of uses: many species are used as ornamental plants, others are grown for fodder or forage, and others for food (particularly their fruit). 
  • With a cactus, water marks are real! Splashes of water can leave unsightly spots and discoloration. That’s why it’s important to water cactus plants from the bottom.
  • The water a cactus holds is far from clear and pure! It’s thick and sticky, yet still drinkable. So all those western movies about cactus juice saving lives are true!
  • Wild cactus are no-nos to cultivate! All cactus are globally protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • A cactus appears on Mexico’s national coat of arms, along with an eagle and snake. That’s because Mexico City’s original name translates as “place of the cactus rock.”
  • The cactus may seem like a simple plant, but its flowers are complex! They're also spectacular in color and form -- but there won’t be flowers unless there’s enough light.
  • Many smaller cacti have globe-shaped stems, combining the highest possible volume for water storage, with the lowest possible surface area for water loss from transpiration
  • All species of cacti are found in either North America or South America, except for mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera), which are found in Africa and a small part of Asia.
  • Transpiration, during which carbon dioxide enters the plant and water escapes, does not take place during the day at the same time as photosynthesis, but instead occurs at night.

100 Facts About Cactus

  • A few species differ significantly in appearance from most of the family. At least superficially, plants of the genus Pereskia resemble other trees and shrubs growing around them.
  • A thin, leggy cactus does not equate to being water deprived! It’s probably just situated too far from a light source, which requires it to stretch its way to the sunshine it requires.
  • Cacti are native to the Americas, ranging from Patagonia in the south to parts of western Canada in the north – except for Rhipsalis baccifera, which also grows in Africa and Sri Lanka.
  • Many succulent plants in both the Old and New World – such as some Euphorbiaceae (euphorbias) – bear a striking resemblance to cacti, and may incorrectly be called “cactus” in common usage.
  • The spines of a cactus help protect it from animals. The spines also reduce airflow around the surface of the cactus and provide some shade, which reduces the loss of water from evaporation.
  • The Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average has a diameter between 0.39 and 0.47 inch. The flowers of the Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average have a diameter between 0.19 and 0.27 inch.
  • The cactus produces a fruitlike berry that holds lots of seeds. In fact, one cactus plant can produce a million seeds! Natural pollinators include typical butterflies, as well as bats and moths.
  • Almost all cactus are native to the western Americas—not Africa, Europe, or Asia—which explains why some call it a “New World” plant! Bet you assumed cactus were non-natives like all the other succulents?
  • The cactus plant actually needs to rest! During the cactus’s inactive season of October through February, keep the sunlight bright but reduce water, food, and temperature (the latter to around 45 degrees F).
  • The cactus plant can be classified as either a desert or jungle cactus. Your Christmas cactus is a prime example of a jungle dweller, so now you know why it needs less light and more water than typical desert cactus.
  • No fossils of cacti have yet to be discovered by archeologists. Estimates of when cacti evolved range between 5 million years ago and 145 million years ago. For now, it’s all theory as to when cacti first appeared on our planet.
  • The cactus is the only plant with areoles—those small, fuzzy bumps on the exterior—from which flowers, spines, and branches spout. Each areole produces only one flower in its lifetime! And you assumed all those bumps were just for looks?
  • The saguaro cactus may be the slowest grower ever, taking up to ten years to grow 1 ½ inches — yet it eventually can grow as much as 80 feet tall! Your household varieties won’t get quite as tall, but they’re guaranteed to be just as amazing.
  • Some types of cactus can survive one or two years without water! That’s because almost all cactus are succulents that adapted fleshy leaves, roots, or stems for water storage. So certainly they can tolerate your infrequent watering schedule, too?
  • The plant stores the carbon dioxide it takes in as malic acid, retaining it until daylight returns, and only then using it in photosynthesis. Because transpiration takes place during the cooler, more humid night hours, water loss is significantly reduced.
  • Those wicked spines are designed to protect the desert cactus from predators, such as rodents, birds, bears, insects … and yes, man! That’s why it’s best to keep spiny cactus from the reach of small children and curious pets. If safety is a concern, check out the spineless varieties, such as bishop’s cap.
  • Areoles are an identifying feature of cacti. As well as spines, areoles give rise to flowers, which are usually tubular and multipetaled. Many cacti have short growing seasons and long dormancies, and are able to react quickly to any rainfall, helped by an extensive but relatively shallow root system that quickly absorbs any water reaching the ground surface.
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