Cactus and Succulents

Cactus and Succulents


Succulents are plants in which leaves, stems or roots have adapted for the storage of water, which allows them to sustain life during dry seasons. The peculiarity of accumulating water causes the need to include protection mechanisms against herbivores and organisms that seek water reserves to survive. Thorns or irritating latex are the most effective and common methods in the cactus family, Agavaceae, Euphorbiaceae or Apocinaceae. Another protection method to avoid sun rays or low night or winter temperatures is the presence of silks or hairs, they usually have whitish colorations to take advantage of their reflective character, thus avoiding perspiration and loss of water due to evaporation .

The Cactus:

Most are of fleshy stems, with thorns and without leaves. They have been able to adapt to the driest and most inhospitable climates on earth, becoming the only plants capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of the deserts. The great family of Cactus are native to the American continent, in addition to occupying the desert habitats of North America, they have also managed to adapt to the shady and humid forests of South America, such as "Zygocactus truncatus", from Brazil, also they have adapted to mountainous regions up to 2000 m above sea level, like some species like "Parodia" native to Argentina.

Fat Plants:

Like the Cactus, there is another family of plants that maintain such characteristic and similar morphological traits, such as succulent and fleshy stems with spines, hairs and protective woolly covers, and even the representative columnar and globose ports that are easily identifiable. This group is called Fatty plants, highlights the "Euphorbias, the Crasulas or the Agaves".

Origins and Origin

Due to the existence in many regions of the earth of habitats with hot and dry climates, succulent plants have a wide area, especially in America and Africa. Schematically, we could establish two environments in which succulents have managed to adapt to survive, the desert or semi-desert habitats and another would be the humid forests. of Central America. In all these regions there is a common factor, since they are located on the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, or very close to them. These strips are characterized by hot summers and mild winters and by long dry periods.

The most representative families:

Agaváceas: America and Africa.

Aizoaceae: Africa.

Cactaceae: America.

Crassulaceae: America.

Euphorbiaceae: America and Africa.

Liliaceae: Africa.

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