what is cacti
Not all species of cacti are prone to corking.  A possible stimulus to their evolution may have been uplifting in the central Andes, some 25–20 million years ago, which was associated with increasing and varying aridity. Cactuses is the English plural. Cacti produce spines, always from areoles as noted above. , Cacti are used as construction materials. One theory is it was spread by being carried as seeds in the digestive tracts of migratory birds; the seeds of Rhipsalis are adapted for bird distribution.  The weed potential of Opuntia species in Australia continues however, leading to all opuntioid cacti except O. ficus-indica being declared Weeds of National Significance by the Australian Weeds Committee in April 2012. Stem shapes vary considerably among cacti. Like Pereskia species today, early ancestors may have been able to switch from the normal C3 mechanism, where carbon dioxide is used continuously in photosynthesis, to CAM cycling, in which when the stomata are closed, carbon dioxide produced by respiration is stored for later use in photosynthesis. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. The stamens usually arise from all over the inner surface of the upper part of the floral tube, although in some cacti, the stamens are produced in one or more distinct "series" in more specific areas of the inside of the floral tube. They can be tree-like (arborescent), meaning they typically have a single more-or-less woody trunk topped by several to many branches. Cacti is a complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool 's data storage and graphing functionality. In the absence of leaves, enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis. They have fleshy succulent stems that are major organs of photosynthesis. Unfortunately, the ambient air tends to stay moist during most seasons, a condition which makes cacti unhappy.  Evidence indicates peyote was in use more than 5,500 years ago; dried peyote buttons presumed to be from a site on the Rio Grande, Texas, were radiocarbon dated to around 3780–3660 BC. , Reproduction by cuttings makes use of parts of a plant that can grow roots.  Nine tribes are recognized within Cactoideae in the International Cactaceae Systematics Group (ICSG) classification; one, Calymmantheae, comprises a single genus, Calymmanthium. , By studying the ratio of 14C to 13C incorporated into a plant—its isotopic signature—it is possible to deduce how much CO2 is taken up at night and how much in the daytime. ), The first cacti are thought to have been only slightly succulent shrubs or small trees whose leaves carried out photosynthesis. ", In 1984, it was decided that the Cactaceae Section of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study should set up a working party, now called the International Cactaceae Systematics Group (ICSG), to produce consensus classifications down to the level of genera. This is particularly true of tree-living cacti, such as Rhipsalis and Schlumbergera, but also of some ground-living cacti, such as Ariocarpus. Plants which live this kind of life-style are called xerophytes.Most are succulents, which store water.. Cacti are members of the plant family Cactaceae, in the order Caryophyllales.There are about 127 genera, with over 1750 known species. Fungicides may be of limited value in combating these diseases.  The word "cactus" derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek κάκτος, kaktos, a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is now not certain. Latin American examples include Parque Nacional del Pinacate, Sonora, Mexico and Pan de Azúcar National Park, Chile. Their first landfalls were in the West Indies, where relatively few cactus genera are found; one of the most common is the genus Melocactus.  Cacti, both purely ornamental species and those with edible fruit, continued to arrive in Europe, so Carl Linnaeus was able to name 22 species by 1753. This is discussed further below under Metabolism. Melocactus species were present in English collections of cacti before the end of the 16th century (by 1570 according to one source,) where they were called Echinomelocactus, later shortened to Melocactus by Joseph Pitton de Tourneville in the early 18th century. Flower buds, particularly of Cylindropuntia species, are also consumed. In the genus Pereskia, believed similar to the ancestor of all cacti, the areoles occur in the axils of leaves (i.e. It is covered with long, â¦ The concentration of salts in the root cells of cacti is relatively high. The latter was achieved by tightly controlling the opening of stomata. Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. any of numerous succulent plants of the family Cactaceae, of warm, arid regions of the New World, having fleshy, leafless, usually spiny stems, and typically having solitary, showy flowers. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Dictionary.com Unabridged  Cacti are one group of drought-resistant plants recommended for dry landscape gardening. It is part of the diet in Mexican and Mexican-American cultures and is also used for medicine. The grower makes cuts on both stock and scion and joins the two, binding them together while they unite. Cactus stems are often visibly waxy.. This fact begs the question of why popular convention persists in using the somewhat misleading phrase \"cacti and succulents,\" as if they were two different things altogether. How to Care for Grafted Cacti.  CAM-cycling is a less efficient system whereby stomata open in the day, just as in plants using the C3 mechanism.  Other hummingbird-pollinated genera include Cleistocactus and Disocactus. Both the fruit and pads are eaten, the former often under the Spanish name tuna, the latter under the name nopal. Although spines have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, at maturity they contain little or no water, being composed of fibers made up of dead cells. Christmas cacti are a very popular houseplantâand for good reason!When they bloom, they produce colorful, tubular flowers in pink or lilac colors. Flower colors range from white through yellow and red to magenta..  The Aztecs symbolically linked the ripe red fruits of an opuntia to human hearts; just as the fruit quenches thirst, so offering human hearts to the sun god ensured the sun would keep moving. But, alas, that is not how books begin.  The outer layer of the stem usually has a tough cuticle, reinforced with waxy layers, which reduce water loss. Early in their evolutionary history, the ancestors of modern cacti (other than one group of Pereskia species) developed stomata on their stems and began to delay developing bark. Individual stems are about 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) high with a diameter of 4–11 cm (1.6–4.3 in), and may be found in clumps up to 1 m (3 ft) wide. Cacti may also be planted outdoors in regions with suitable climates. Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box. Mammillaria). " Leafless cacti carry out all their photosynthesis in the stem, using full CAM. General advice is hard to give, since the frequency of watering required depends on where the cacti are being grown, the nature of the growing medium, and the original habitat of the cacti. They also used to corral animals. A cactus figured in some of its graphics, and besides, it is still, to me, one of the coolest call signs out there. For cacti adapted to drought, the three main centers are Mexico and the southwestern United States; the southwestern Andes, where they are found in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina; and eastern Brazil, away from the Amazon Basin. For the former genus, "Cacti" redirects here. , Smaller cacti may be described as columnar. 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 cacti may never grow large enough to require the additional support of hardened tissue. All or some stems in a cluster may share a common root. Their system has been used as the basis of subsequent classifications. Stems have stomata and the formation of bark takes place later than in normal trees. Opuntioids and Maihuenia have leaves that appear to consist only of a midrib. , Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a mechanism adopted by cacti and other succulents to avoid the problems of the C3 mechanism. Like other types of succulents, cacti reduce this water loss by the way in which they carry out photosynthesis. Thus, Stenocereus eruca has stems growing along the ground, rooting at intervals. Structures with a high surface area-to-volume ratio, such as thin leaves, necessarily lose water at a higher rate than structures with a low area-to-volume ratio, such as thickened stems. Fusarium rot can gain entry through a wound and cause rotting accompanied by red-violet mold. This is because cacti produce the fleshy leaves but lack other characteristics familiar to the family. Hunter-gatherers likely collected cactus fruits in the wild and brought them back to their camps. The Most Insincere Compliments And What To Say Instead, The Dictionary.com Word Of The Year For 2020 Is …, “Indica” vs. “Sativa”: There Is A Difference. They consist of erect, cylinder-shaped stems, which may or may not branch, without a very clear division into trunk and branches. It has tall stems, up to 6 m (20 ft) high, with a diameter of 6–15 cm (2.4–5.9 in), which branch from the base, giving the whole plant a shrubby or tree-like appearance.  A further difficulty is that many cacti were given names by growers and horticulturalists rather than botanists; as a result, the provisions of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (which governs the names of cacti, as well as other plants) were often ignored.  Grazing, in many areas by introduced animals, such as goats, has caused serious damage to populations of cacti (as well as other plants); two examples cited by Anderson are the Galápagos Islands generally and the effect on Browningia candelaris in Peru. Cactus fruit may look intimidating, but once you get past its spiny outsides, it yields a mild and nutrient-rich flesh. Cultivated forms are often significantly less spiny or even spineless. With the proper care, these desert-native plants can be just as happy growing on a shelf inside your home. Those that feed on sap include mealybugs, living on both stems and roots; scale insects, generally only found on stems; whiteflies, which are said to be an "infrequent" pest of cacti; red spider mites, which are very small but can occur in large numbers, constructing a fine web around themselves and badly marking the cactus via their sap sucking, even if they do not kill it; and thrips, which particularly attack flowers. Cactus plural: Cacti is a noun. Come in here. Most cacti—opuntias and cactoids—specialize in surviving in hot and dry environments (i.e. Understanding evolution within the core cacti clade is difficult as of February 2012[update], since phylogenetic relationships are still uncertain and not well related to current classifications. As they do so, they lose water through transpiration. Illegal collecting of cacti from the wild continues to pose a threat. What is cactus mix? , Other cacti have a quite different appearance. Also, like many names of plants, the uninflected cactus is sometimes treated as plural. For example, the type locality of Pelecyphora strobiliformis near Miquihuana, Mexico, was virtually denuded of plants, which were dug up for sale in Europe. Many smaller cacti have globe-shaped stems, combining the highest possible volume for water storage, with the lowest possible surface area for water loss from transpiration. Some of these pests are resistant to many insecticides, although there are biological controls available. The 1905 Vienna botanical congress rejected the name Cactus and instead declared Mammillaria was the type genus of the family Cactaceae. In one case, a young saguaro only 12 cm (4.7 in) tall had a root system with a diameter of 2 m (7 ft), but no more than 10 cm (4 in) deep. Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020, C17: from Latin: prickly plant, from Greek, Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition , Hooked central spine (cf. , The flower as a whole is usually radially symmetrical (actinomorphic), but may be bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic) in some species.  A large part of the stem is usually below ground. Cacti naturally occur in desert and badlands biomes(twice more common in desert than in badlands). Here, they may be kept in pots or grown in the ground. In some cases, the "columns" may be horizontal rather than vertical. Exceptions occur in three groups of cacti.  Core cacti, those with strongly succulent stems, are estimated to have evolved around 25 million years ago. , The remaining cacti fall into only two genera, Pereskia and Maihuenia, and are rather different, which means any description of cacti as a whole must frequently make exceptions for them. Water: Very little maintenance is required for these guys to thrive. They trap air near the surface of the cactus, creating a moister layer that reduces evaporation and transpiration.  Allowing the temperature to rise above 32 °C (90 °F) is not recommended. Cactus flowers are pollinated by insects, birds and bats.  A small number of cactus species in the tribes Hylocereeae and Rhipsalideae have become adapted to life as climbers or epiphytes, often in tropical forests, where water conservation is less important. (Plants) cactus dahlia a double-flowered variety of dahlia In tropical regions, other cacti grow as forest climbers and epiphytes (plants that grow on trees). 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). One evolutionary question at present unanswered is whether the switch to full CAM photosynthesis in stems occurred only once in the core cacti, in which case it has been lost in Maihuenia, or separately in Opuntioideae and Cactoideae, in which case it never evolved in Maihuenia.. Species of Pereskia within clade A always lack two key features of the stem present in most of the remaining "caulocacti": like most non-cacti, their stems begin to form bark early in the plants' life and also lack stomata—structures that control admission of air into a plant and hence control photosynthesis. The need for a continuous supply of CO2 during photosynthesis means the stomata must be open, so water vapor is continuously being lost. CAM uses water much more efficiently at the price of limiting the amount of carbon fixed from the atmosphere and thus available for growth. Many cacti have roots that spread out widely, but only penetrate a short distance into the soil.  Less drought-resistant epiphytes, such as epiphyllum hybrids, Schlumbergera (the Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus) and Hatiora (the Easter cactus), are widely cultivated as houseplants.  Day-flying butterflies and nocturnal moths are associated with different pollination syndromes. It was accepted that the relationships shown above are "the most robust to date. Learn growing tips, cacti classification, and more!  Several other species of Echinopsis, including E. peruviana, also contain mescaline. All contain a large number of seeds.  This section is primarily concerned with the cultivation of semidesert cacti in containers and under protection, such as in a greenhouse or in the home, rather than cultivation outside in the ground in those climates that permit it. Detailed treatments published in the 21st century have divided the family into around 125–130 genera and 1,400–1,500 species, which are then arranged into a number of tribes and subfamilies. Both contain mescaline. Fruits of Stenocereus species have also been important food sources in similar parts of North America; Stenocereus queretaroensis is cultivated for its fruit. What we usually think of as cacti are desert cacti, but there are also forest â¦ , Cacti inhabit diverse regions, from coastal plains to high mountain areas. Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Some cacti only have spines when young, possibly only when seedlings. Their capital from the 15th century was Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City); one explanation for the origin of the name is that it includes the Nahuatl word nōchtli, referring to the fruit of an opuntia.  However, the use of organic material is rejected altogether by others; Hecht says that cacti (other than epiphytes) "want soil that is low in or free of humus", and recommends coarse sand as the basis of a growing medium.  The small genus Maihuenia also relies on leaves for photosynthesis. The center of the stem, the cortex, developed "chlorenchyma" – a plant tissue made up of relatively unspecialized cells containing chloroplasts, arranged into a "spongy layer" and a "palisade layer" where most of the photosynthesis occurs.  A broad distinction can be made between semidesert cacti and epiphytic cacti, which need different conditions and are best grown separately. Botanical gardens play an important role in ex situ conservation; for example, seeds of cacti and other succulents are kept in long-term storage at the Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona..  Classification of the cacti currently remains uncertain and is likely to change.  Brown says that more cacti are lost through the "untimely application of water than for any other reason" and that even during the dormant winter season, cacti need some water. It can be preserved by boiling to produce syrup and by drying. Low light levels are sufficient during germination, but afterwards semi-desert cacti need higher light levels to produce strong growth, although acclimatization is needed to conditions in a greenhouse, such as higher temperatures and strong sunlight. Examples of such protected areas in the United States include Big Bend National Park, Texas; Joshua Tree National Park, California; and Saguaro National Park, Arizona. For example, of the 36 genera in the subfamily Cactoideae sampled in the research, 22 (61%) were found not monophyletic. Cacti belong to the plant family Cactaceae that includes about 1400 species. Carnegiea gigantea is an example of a bat-pollinated cactus, as are many species of Pachycereus and Pilosocereus. Tissue derived from the petals and sepals continues the pericarpel, forming a composite tube—the whole may be called a floral tube, although strictly speaking only the part furthest from the base is floral in origin. , The three main threats to cacti in the wild are development, grazing and over-collection. As well as defending against herbivores, spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade.  Some cacti, particularly those from the high Andes, are fully frost-hardy when kept dry (e.g.  Other species of cactus with long-lasting leaves, such as the opuntioid Pereskiopsis, also have succulent leaves.  Thus, melocacti were possibly among the first cacti seen by Europeans. Overview Information Prickly pear cactus is a plant. , Even those cacti without visible photosynthetic leaves do usually have very small leaves, less than 0.5 mm (0.02 in) long in about half of the species studied and almost always less than 1.5 mm (0.06 in) long.  Seed is sown in a moist growing medium and then kept in a covered environment, until 7–10 days after germination, to avoid drying out. Many cacti have short growing seasons and long dormancies, and are able to react quickly to any rainfall, helped by an extensive but relatively shallow root system that quickly absorbs any water reaching the ground surface.  Pereskia leaves are claimed to only have the C3 mechanism with CAM restricted to stems. The outside of the tubular structure often has areoles that produce wool and spines. Flowers are also produced from areoles. Other succulent plants, such as the Aizoaceae in South Africa, the Didiereaceae in Madagascar and the genus Agave in the Americas, appear to have diversified at the same time, which coincided with a global expansion of arid environments. However, cacti are very difficult to preserve in this way; they have evolved to resist drying and their bodies do not easily compress. The purpose of the growing medium is to provide support and to store water, oxygen and dissolved minerals to feed the plant. , All cacti are included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which "lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled." , Botanically, "spines" are distinguished from "thorns": spines are modified leaves, and thorns are modified branches. , Bat-pollination is relatively uncommon in flowering plants, but about a quarter of the genera of cacti are known to be pollinated by bats—an unusually high proportion, exceeded among eudicots by only two other families, both with very few genera. A cactus (plural cacti, cactuses, or less commonly, cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae,[Note 1] a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. These strategies included being able to respond rapidly to periods of rain, and keeping transpiration low by using water very efficiently during photosynthesis. By contrast, caulocacti, including species of Pereskia clade B, typically delay forming bark and have stomata on their stems, thus giving the stem the potential to become a major organ for photosynthesis.  Climbing, creeping and epiphytic cacti may have only adventitious roots, produced along the stems where these come into contact with a rooting medium. 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. The tallest[Note 2] free-standing cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m (63 ft), and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter at maturity. For example, in California, the East Bay Municipal Utility District sponsored the publication of a book on plants and landscapes for summer-dry climates. Slugs and snails also eat cacti. The prominence of these ribs depends on how much water the stem is storing: when full (up to 90% of the mass of a cactus may be water), the ribs may be almost invisible on the swollen stem, whereas when the cactus is short of water and the stems shrink, the ribs may be very visible. The "core cacti" show a steady increase in both stem succulence and photosynthesis accompanied by multiple losses of leaves, more-or-less complete in the Cactoideae. Such stems contain chlorophyll and are able to carry out photosynthesis; they also have stomata (small structures that can open and close to allow passage of gases). Most spines are straight or at most slightly curved, and are described as hair-like, bristle-like, needle-like or awl-like, depending on their length and thickness.  However, in an Agave species, cactus virus X has been shown to reduce growth, particularly when the roots are dry. Most members of these two groups are easily recognizable as cacti. , Cochineal is a red dye produced by a scale insect that lives on species of Opuntia. , The difficulties continued, partly because giving plants scientific names relies on "type specimens". , Semi-desert cacti need careful watering. Climbing cacti can be very large; a specimen of Hylocereus was reported as 100 meters (330 ft) long from root to the most distant stem. The very fine spines and hairs (trichomes) of some cacti were used as a source of fiber for filling pillows and in weaving. Globular cacti may be solitary, such as Ferocactus latispinus, or their stems may form clusters that can create large mounds. Two species have a long history of use by the indigenous peoples of the Americas: peyote, Lophophora williamsii, in North America, and the San Pedro cactus, Echinopsis pachanoi, in South America. Outside the Americas, the Indian fig cactus is an important commercial crop in Sicily, Algeria and other North African countries. As of February 2012[update], it is not clear whether stem-based CAM evolved once only in the core cacti, or separately in the opuntias and cactoids; CAM is known to have evolved convergently many times. Most members of these two groups are easily recognizable as cacti. This results in a relatively fixed number of spines, with flowers being produced only from the ends of stems, which are still growing and forming new areoles. The stomata remain closed throughout the day, and photosynthesis uses only this stored CO2.  The general advice given is that during the growing season, cacti should be allowed to dry out between thorough waterings. More recent molecular studies suggest a much younger origin, perhaps in very Late Eocene to early Oligocene periods, around 35–30 million years ago. Sometimes, one or more central spines are hooked, while outer spines are straight (e.g., Mammillaria rekoi). That is because succulents are the overarching category; cacti are a sub-group of that category. In more tropical southern areas, the climber Hylocereus undatus provides pitahaya orejona, now widely grown in Asia under the name dragon fruit. In the genus Pereskia, the branches are covered with leaves, so the species of this genus may not be recognized as cacti.  The ICSG classification of the cactus family recognizes four subfamilies, the largest of which is divided into nine tribes. The word "cactus" is derived through Latin from the Ancient Greek κάκτος (kaktos), a name used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant, which may have been the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus).  The coat of arms of Mexico shows an eagle perched on a cactus while holding a snake, an image at the center of the myth of the founding of Tenochtitlan. The stems of most cacti have adaptations to allow them to conduct photosynthesis in the absence of leaves. Helminosporium cactivorum); Phytophthora species also cause similar rotting in cacti. Cactuses have swollen... 2. Long used by the peoples of Central and North America, demand fell rapidly when European manufacturers began to produce synthetic dyes in the middle of the 19th century. One of these, his Cactus opuntia (now part of Opuntia ficus-indica), was described as "fructu majore ... nunc in Hispania et Lusitania" (with larger fruit ... now in Spain and Portugal), indicative of its early use in Europe. " It continues to be used for its psychoactive effects, both for spiritual and for healing purposes, often combined with other psychoactive agents, such as Datura ferox and tobacco. These vary from small "bumps" to prominent, nipple-like shapes in the genus Mammillaria and outgrowths almost like leaves in Ariocarpus species. At night, or when the plant is short of water, the stomata close and the CAM mechanism is used to store CO2 produced by respiration for use later in photosynthesis. The opening line of any book should say, in the words of Stephen King, “Listen. Cactus spines are produced from specialized structures called areoles, a kind of highly reduced branch. In 1737, he placed the cacti he knew into two genera, Cactus and Pereskia. Cacti are native through most of the length of North and South America, from British Columbia and Alberta southward; the southernmost limit of their range extends far into Chile and Argentina. To cacti in pots or grown in the case of cacti outrageous shapes of Prickly Pears, cacti be! [ 85 ] some cacti only have spines when young, possibly only when seedlings other trees shrubs... As Copiapoa, these desert-native plants can be propagated by seed, cuttings or.. 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Is to provide support and to store water have spines when young, possibly only when seedlings Helminosporium ''!