Cactus

Cactaceaecacticactus familyCactalescactiicolumnar cactiedible cacticactCactaicacti,
A cactus (plural cacti, cactuses, or less commonly, cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales.wikipedia
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Caryophyllales

CaryophyllanaeCaryophyllifloraepink family
A cactus (plural cacti, cactuses, or less commonly, cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales.
Caryophyllales is an order of flowering plants that includes the cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, beets, and many carnivorous plants.

Rhipsalis baccifera

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.
Rhipsalis baccifera, commonly known as the mistletoe cactus, is an epiphytic cactus which originates from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Florida.

Drought

droughtsdrought reliefdry
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.
Many plant species, such as those in the family Cactaceae (or cacti), have drought tolerance adaptations like reduced leaf area and waxy cuticles to enhance their ability to tolerate drought.

Saguaro

saguaro cactusCarnegiea giganteasaguaro cacti
A fully grown saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is said to be able to absorb as much as 200 USgal of water during a rainstorm.
The saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is an arborescent (tree-like) cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea, which can grow to be over 40 ft tall.

Succulent plant

succulentsucculentssucculent plants
Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. 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.
In horticultural use, the term "succulent" is sometimes used in a way which excludes plants that botanists would regard as succulents, such as cacti.

Schlumbergera

Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactusChristmas cactusZygocactus
Their stems are typically flattened, almost leaf-like in appearance, with fewer or even no spines, such as the well-known Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus (in the genus Schlumbergera). Epiphytic cacti, such as species of Rhipsalis or Schlumbergera, often hang downwards, forming dense clumps where they grow in trees high above the ground.
Schlumbergera is a small genus of cacti with six to nine species found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil.

Pachycereus pringlei

cardón cactusCardon Cactuscardón
The tallest free-standing cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m, and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm in diameter at maturity. In most other cacti, the branches are more typically cactus-like, bare of leaves and bark, and covered with spines, as in Pachycereus pringlei or the larger opuntias.
Pachycereus pringlei, also known as Mexican giant cardon or elephant cactus, is a species of cactus native to northwestern Mexico in the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora.

Areole

areolesareolasradial spines
Cactus spines are produced from specialized structures called areoles, a kind of highly reduced branch.
In botany, areoles are small light- to dark-colored bumps on cacti out of which grow clusters of spines.

Opuntioideae

Opuntieaeopuntioid
The 1,500 to 1,800 species of cacti mostly fall into one of two groups of "core cacti": opuntias (subfamily Opuntioideae) and "cactoids" (subfamily Cactoideae).
Opuntioideae is a subfamily of the cactus family, Cactaceae.

Opuntia

prickly pearprickly pear cactusprickly pears
In most other cacti, the branches are more typically cactus-like, bare of leaves and bark, and covered with spines, as in Pachycereus pringlei or the larger opuntias. In Pereskia, a genus close to the ancestor of cacti, areoles remain active for much longer; this is also the case in Opuntia and Neoraimondia.
Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae.

Mammillaria

nipple cactusbiznaga cabeza de viejocactus
These vary from small "bumps" to prominent, nipple-like shapes in the genus Mammillaria and outgrowths almost like leaves in Ariocarpus species. Some cacti produce floral tubes without wool or spines (e.g. Gymnocalycium) or completely devoid of any external structures (e.g. Mammillaria).
Mammillaria is one of the largest genera in the cactus family (Cactaceae), with currently 200 known species and varieties recognized.

Euphorbiaceae

spurge familyeuphorb familyspurge
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.
Some, such as Euphorbia canariensis, are succulent and resemble cacti because of convergent evolution.

Stenocereus thurberi

organ pipe cactusorgan pipeorgan cactus
Cacti may also be described as shrubby, with several stems coming from the ground or from branches very low down, such as in Stenocereus thurberi.
Stenocereus thurberi, the organ pipe cactus or pitahaya, is a species of cactus native to Mexico and the United States.

Echinocactus platyacanthus

platyacanthus
Some cacti may become tree-sized but without branches, such as larger specimens of Echinocactus platyacanthus.
Echinocactus platyacanthus, also known as the giant barrel cactus, golden barrel cactus, giant viznaga, or biznaga de dulce, is a species of cactus (family Cactaceae).

Photosynthesis

photosyntheticphotosynthesizephotosynthesizing
In the absence of leaves, enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis.
Certain species adapted to conditions of strong sunlight and aridity, such as many Euphorbia and cactus species, have their main photosynthetic organs in their stems.

Rhipsalis

mistletoe cactus
Epiphytic cacti, such as species of Rhipsalis or Schlumbergera, often hang downwards, forming dense clumps where they grow in trees high above the ground.
Rhipsalis is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family, typically known as mistletoe cacti.

Hylocereus

hylocereus cactusWilmattea
Climbing cacti can be very large; a specimen of Hylocereus was reported as 100 m long from root to the most distant stem.
Hylocereus is a genus of epiphytic cacti, often referred to as night-blooming cactus (though the term is also used for many other cacti).

Epiphyte

epiphyticepiphytesepiphytically
In tropical regions, other cacti grow as forest climbers and epiphytes (plants that grow on trees).
Epiphytes are usually found in the temperate zone (e.g., many mosses, liverworts, lichens, and algae) or in the tropics (e.g., many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads).

Stenocereus eruca

Creeping Devil
Thus, Stenocereus eruca has stems growing along the ground, rooting at intervals.
Stenocereus eruca, commonly known as creeping devil, is a member of the family Cactaceae.

Atacama Desert

AtacamadesertAtacama Altiplano
Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.
However, some locations in the Atacama receive a marine fog known locally as the camanchaca, providing sufficient moisture for hypolithic algae, lichens, and even some cacti—the genus Copiapoa is notable among these.

Sclerocactus papyracanthus

paperspine fishhook cactusToumeya papyracantha
Some cacti have flattened spines (e.g. Sclerocactus papyracanthus).
Sclerocactus papyracanthus is a species of cactus known by the common names paperspine fishhook cactus, grama grass cactus, paper-spined cactus, and toumeya.

Cephalocereus senilis

old man cactusOld-Man Cactus
Smaller and younger specimens of Cephalocereus senilis, for example, are columnar, whereas older and larger specimens may become tree-like.
Cephalocereus senilis, the old man cactus, is a species of cactus native to Guanajuato and Hidalgo in eastern Mexico.

Ariocarpus

AnhaloniumRoseocactus
These vary from small "bumps" to prominent, nipple-like shapes in the genus Mammillaria and outgrowths almost like leaves in Ariocarpus species.
Ariocarpus is a small genus of succulent, subtropical plants of the family Cactaceae.

Neoraimondia

In Pereskia, a genus close to the ancestor of cacti, areoles remain active for much longer; this is also the case in Opuntia and Neoraimondia.
Neoraimondia is a genus of medium to large cacti from Peru.

Gymnocalycium

Some cacti produce floral tubes without wool or spines (e.g. Gymnocalycium) or completely devoid of any external structures (e.g. Mammillaria).
Gymnocalycium, commonly called chin cactus, is a genus of about 70 South American species of cactus.