Are Cacti Trees? Curious Succulent Plants Facts Explained For Kids! | Kidadl


Are Cacti Trees? Curious Succulent Plants Facts Explained For Kids!

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Plants and animals are connected in numerous ways, our very survival depends on plants, their daily functions such as releasing oxygen in the environment help organisms to breathe and do their everyday work.

However the plant family is very diverse and there are numerous plants, plants that are only found in subtropical regions, and then there are plants that are only found in deserts. There are plants that need a lot of water, hence they are seen in rainforests but some succulents don't need much water and are found in the desert, like the common cactus plants.

The cactus plant is famous for its ability to survive in harsh environments such as the desert where the supply of water is less and heat is tremendous. However, there are some plants in the desert that have the ability to store water inside them, this way they live for a long time. All the cactus species are able to hold water and live for long, there are also several spiky plants that can do so. Cactus flowers are also very common, but they are only found in regions that have less rainfall as they may die with excess water. There are several flowering plants that also come under the cactus family, they come in various colors and these days they are often seen decorating houses. It's very easy to take care of these plants, as they can survive in dry environments and can bear direct sunlight. The family Cactaceae utilize their root system, the water absorbed by the cacti is then used for days in case of no rainfall and drier environments. Almost all cacti species are classified as succulent plants but the same cannot be said about every succulent. Even though cacti grow in dry regions they don't have leaves, some might develop flower buds. The development of flowers in cactus plants only happens in certain species and not all the cacti.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read if cacti are succulents or if cacti are poisonous here on Kidadl?

What is a cactus classified as?

There are several drought-resistant plants, most cacti, prickly pear is also one of them, other succulents also possess the same qualities. Cacti are native to North America and are widely found in different species.

Cacti are present in a lot of species and all of them are absolutely game changers when it comes to decorating your house. Saguaro cactus, prickly pear cactus, and Easter cactus are some of the examples, however, no matter how diverse the desert cacti may seem they all belong under the division Anthophyta. The name cactus comes from the Greek language which translates to a spiny thistle or woody plant. A succulent plant has the ability to store water in its succulent stems, which woody plants don't have. The stems of a cactus plant are able to take in water and the tubercles help the woody stems to do so. However, the stems are different in different species, some cactus plants have fleshy stems while some have buses on their stem. Almost every cactus even the Christmas cactus has the ability to hold chlorophyll, also holding water, these are essential ingredients when it comes to photosynthesis. Hence the cactus stems are way more useful.

Is a cactus a tree or a plant?

The species cacti belong to a family which has over 127 genera of plants and cactus species of around 1700 plus species. Some of these cacti are able to also grow flowers or they have flowers on the top, one example of such species is the moon cactus.

Even though cacti have tree-like stems, they aren't really trees. Cactus plants have soft stems, whereas a tree has woody stems, which makes clear the fact that a cactus is not a tree. The smaller cacti are also pretty small and are nothing of the height of a tree, hence a cactus cannot be considered as a tree. Cacti are succulent plants. There are a number of succulents among which are cactus, the easy way to find out if they are cacti is if they have spines or not. Cacti can also grow flowers, but that doesn't make a cactus plant a flowering plant. There are 1000 plus species of the cacti and each species is different than the previous one. However, there are certain characters, which a plant has, which makes them a cactus plant. If a succulent as a stem, which has the ability to store water, their skin surface is also different and it makes it impossible for these plants to lose water. The spines also contribute to the debate of whether the plant is a cactus. Some cacti are also known as flowering plants, but their body features are different than those of the other cacti.

Sagauro Cactus Flowers in spring time in the Arizona Desert

What are cactus trees called?

Cacti are not trees, they are very different from trees, there are a number of things that advocate for the fact that a cactus and a tree are not the same.

The cactus has a unique stem system that helps them store water, it's also important for them to do so as they mostly grow in drier regions. The same behavior can be seen in a number of succulents, their stem is well developed when it comes to storing water. There are tiny buds on the stem which helps in the process. The cactus also has chlorophyll on its stem which helps with photosynthesis. However, mostly all the succulents have species layers of skin which makes it even harder for the plant to lose water. The same helps a cactus when it's in a drier region, the skin doesn't let the water go away, making it easier for it to survive in a drier climate. When it comes to a tree, these special features are missing, trees need water and sunlight but in the right amount. Direct sunlight can harm a tree, and not getting water for too long can also cause harm to the tree. Their stems are not made for storing water and hence they cannot survive in the deserts. Trees also grow to great heights, but for a cactus that's simply not possible, the stem system and the root system are also very different for both these species. Thus, a cactus is not a tree, it's a succulent, there are several cacti that are also considered flowering plants due to their ability to bloom. However, there is a tree, that looks like a cactus, also known as a tree-like cactus from the genus Carnegiea Britton, under the species name C. gigantea. The same plant is not a cactus, it is just a tree that looks like a cactus. Its name is the saguaro. They are tall trees and grow for about 40 ft (12 m) in height.

Are there more cacti in Arizona than trees?

Cacti are common and are native all across North and South America. They are found in numerous states and are also common in British Colombia.

Arizona doesn't have a number of cactus species, and the same is also found in Pima County, which is even further south. The north and south of America are filled with cacti, due to the humid environment. However, Arizona is also famous for its saguaro cacti which grow the most in the summertime.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for whether cacti are trees, then why not take a look at vertebrate vs invertebrate facts or facts on the Morkie lifespan.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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