5 Truly Amazing Things about Cacti

Hello!

So a while back on my Facebook page, my good friend commented whether I had written anything about cacti, and I hadn’t so Charlotte here are 5 amazing things about cacti!

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Number 1: All cacti belong to the family Cactaceae.

This plant family then belongs to 127 different genera of Cacti. To put it simply there are a lot of different species of Cacti all coming in different sizes and shapes.

Number 2: The fruit of some cactus species, like Opuntia phaeacantha, can be eaten, being called prickly pear.

Exactly like in the jungle book! Cacti are in fact used for lots of different things, for food as I’ve just said but also as ornamental plants. The trunk of some cacti is used to make a type of Argentinian drum called bombo leguero.

Number 3: You can tell what type of pollinator the cacti wants to attract by the smell they produce and the colour of their flowers.

Cacti are pollinated predominantly by insects but also hummingbirds. Some species of cacti produce the scent of rotting meat to attract flies to pollinate them.

Number 4: Cacti gather and hold lots of water in their stems.

The water is gathered from a large root system. This way when the rain does come the cactus is able to gather as much as possible. They also can have a long tap root that goes down into the soil much further than the rest of the root system. All of this water can then be held in the stem. The water forms a thick liquid and although no longer looks like water it is drinkable and has saved lives!

Number 5: Many species of cacti are in decline.

Cacti do an amazing job at staying alive in some of the worlds toughest terraine, so why are they in decline? Well like so many other plants one reason is habitat decline. Given the desert conditions I didn’t think this would be an issue but more humans are moving into desert areas and decreasing the areas for cacti to grow. Secondly the more pressing issue for many cacti species is illegal trade. Many species are protected and it is illegal to take them away from their habitat. You wouldn’t think of cacti when it comes to cacti but its a very real issue and something that the worlds legislation needs to combat.

I hope this blog has been interesting for you and you’ve learnt some more about these wonderful plants. If you have anything you’d like me to write about just drop me a comment!

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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