Cactus – Don’t Touch!
Cactuses, or cacti, are desert plants. They grow in dry places and their ability to store water keeps them alive. They have thick tissues that take up and hold large amounts of water. Cacti are protected by sharp spines that are actually modified leaves.
There are about 1,650 species of cactus. They can be of different sizes. The giant cactus known as the saguaro can be 15 meters tall. Mexico has the greatest number and variety of cacti.
Their roots are spread out near the surface of the soil because this is important to their survival. Some cacti have flowers and branches. The fruit is a many-seeded berry.
Unusual and beautiful cacti are prized as houseplants. Some types of cacti are also grown for food. Some types of cacti are used for making medicines.
The agave living–rock cactus is 5 to 7.6 centimeters across. It is blooming in November and December. The flowers, which open at night, are rose–pink to magenta in color. Its population has been reduced in number and continues to be threatened by collectors.
The Peebles Navajo cactus is a small, globe–shaped cactus with no central spine. It blooms in the spring and has yellow to yellow–green flowers. Excessive collecting and habitat destruction are the main reasons for the decline of this cactus species.
– The U.S. state of Arizona has adopted the saguaro as its state flower.
– Members of the Cactaceae family are pollinated predominantly by bats.
– The fruits of prickly-pears, sometimes known as apples or tunas, can be eaten directly or used to make a jelly.
– Peyote or mescal buttons is a cactus containing several alkaloids in its tissues that are used as a hallucinogen and folk medicine.
– Depending on the species needles may be vulnerable and delicate, or rigid and poisonous.
– America is considered a homeland of cactus. Christopher Columbus brought these plants to Europe.
– Dogs are afraid of cacti. A hedge made of them has long been used to protect farms against coyotes.
– There is a cactus garden in Monte Carlo. There are hundreds of species of cacti growing in the open air right on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
– Traditional Argentinean drums bombo leguero are made from the stems of large cacti.
Palestinian artist Ahmad Yaseen draws pictures incredible on cacti.