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Facts about cactus

“Cacti” is the plural way to say “cactus.”
“Cacti” is the plural way to say “cactus.”
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Cacti are prickly plants that thrive in the hottest temperatures. Although it is hard to imagine that any plant could survive temperatures that reach over 100 degrees, cacti do very well in desert environments. Although cactus is renowned for its ability to survive the heat, they can also handle cold temperature excellently since, at night, the desert can get very chilly!

Cacti normally grow out of doors but they can also be kept as houseplants.
Cacti normally grow out of doors but they can also be kept as houseplants.
Photo by Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Cacti come in a huge assortment of shapes and sizes. Most cacti are green in color but some have the ability to sprout beautiful flowers of white, pink and other colors. Generally, cacti retain water (via strong underground root systems) in order to survive weeks of drought and have spikey/sharp edges in order to protect themselves from being devoured by predators.

Cacti are strongly associated with hot climates—especially deserts—and so they are frequently depicted in western movies and cartoons that are associated with hot temperatures. Additionally, many people find cacti visually appealing so there is quite a collection of photography that uses these plants as a subject. It is this popularity in media that has made cacti famous, even in cold weather climates where no cacti naturally grow.

Although most people know what cactus is, few know in-depth information about them. Hence, below is a list of some interesting facts about cactus:

• Cactus can be a source of food; especially as an ingredient in soup. Additionally, numerous people who had found themselves lost in the desert have claimed that drinking water from cacti saved their lives.

• There are approximately 1,500 to 1,800 species of cacti.

• The smallest cacti are about 1 centimeter high while the largest cacti can reach heights exceeding 65 feet!

• Cacti are abundant in many parts of Mexico. Hence, a cactus is actually depicted on the national coat of arms of Mexico and the ancient Aztec’s depicted cacti in many of their drawings and sculptures.

• Although cacti are mostly outdoor plants, certain types can thrive as houseplants as long as they are provided with adequate care.