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What types of cacti we know and what we grow at home

types of cacti Cacti are perennials in the Clove family. The types of cacti are amazing. Thanks to the efforts of breeders and lovers of this culture, many new varieties and varieties have appeared recently. The plant has always been popular, so it was subject to increased interest from botanists, collectors and tourists who contributed to the spread of cacti and the emergence of new specimens..

History of appearance

types of cacti So far, one can only guess about the true origin of this culture, since not a single reliable fact has been found so far. However, scientists suggest that the cactus family is quite ancient. It is believed that they appeared more than 30 million years ago..

Their fossil remains have never been found, but rock carvings have survived. According to them, one can judge that the homeland of cacti is the eastern part of India and some regions of South America. On the bas-reliefs of the ancient Aztecs, you can see drawings reminiscent of these plants. They are very similar to modern varieties of cacti..

Most likely, their ancestors were quite hygrophilous crops with well-developed leaf blades, but developing in hot climates, they had to adapt to the surrounding conditions. This is how new forms of plants appeared. Perhaps they include succulents..

Cacti got their name from the Greek word “cactos”. This is how all unknown plants used to be called..

In the scientific literature, culture was first mentioned in one of the works of a scientist named Tabernemontan in the 16th century. He worked on the characterization of cacti. Further, in the 18th century, the term “cactus” was firmly entrenched in this plant, thanks to Karl Linnaeus. It began to mean all types of plants that have thorns..

Spread to Europe

species of cacti widespread in EuropeCacti are well known to the inhabitants of Mexico, the American states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Many varieties of bizarre shapes and sizes grow in the mountainous regions of the Andes, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and China.

Having appeared in the countries of Europe, the cactus became an unusual discovery for its inhabitants. It is known that already at the beginning of the 19th century, some Europeans could boast of their rich collection of this plant, which was popular.

In Russia, the cactus first appeared in St. Petersburg. It was brought from hot countries for the purpose of sale. With the creation of the Pharmaceutical Garden in 1714, exotic plants began to appear, including various varieties of cacti..

mammillariaNowadays, cacti are no less popular. New species appear, thanks to the efforts of breeders. The Dutch were especially successful in this, who created unique varieties, including those devoid of thorns. Opuntia cacti, which quickly adapt to their environment, are very popular. In the wild, they are common in the Crimea. Despite the fact that many species have long grown in the desert, now they feel great at home in decorative pots..

Cacti are used as raw materials for the production of some food products, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics and medicines. In ancient times, the plant was also actively used for medical purposes, for example, wounds on the skin were sewn up with needles..

Biological description

types of cactiAn unusual root system is extremely important for a cactus, which is a taproot, but at the same time, both the main root and the lateral processes perform their functions well. In some cactus species, the main part of the root thickens over time and becomes a storage organ. It makes the most of scarce precipitation or condensed moisture. It is known that the root system of a plant is able to change depending on conditions.

The stems of the cactus are of various shapes and sizes. Leaf buds in most varieties do not form into leaf plates, but grow in the form of small tubercles. In a number of cacti, they are transformed into ribs. Their function is to impart strength to the plant, increase in size with a significant supply of moisture during the period of precipitation. The stem can be green, gray, blue..gracilis slim

Many varieties of cacti are not devoid of a leaf plate. As a rule, it is dense, fleshy. In some species, it reaches a length of more than 25 cm, with a thickness of 6 cm.In severe drought, the leaves fall off.

Many varieties and varieties of cacti do not have thorns, but at the stage of plant development, in areoles, they are visible. They are often used to identify, determine the belonging of a culture to a particular species. Spines vary in size, shape and color.

Not only thorns are laid in the areoles of cacti. They are divided into two parts. In one of them, thorns are formed, and in the other, a future flower or shoot. In each areola, one flower is formed and only in exceptional cases, two or more.

The size of the flowers is varied – from 6 mm to 40 cm. Only some species have full-fledged inflorescences. Most cactus flowers are axillary, solitary. In flowering in the daytime, shades prevail: red, yellow, orange, rarely green. Those specimens that bloom at night are white..

How different types of cacti adapt to habitat conditions

adaptation to habitat conditionsCacti are perennial succulents. They are very light-requiring, and during their historical development they have adapted to high temperatures and lack of water. This is possible due to the increased viscosity of the plasma and the high water content in the plant structure. The structure allows it to retain moisture, and evaporate it in small quantities. They owe this to the dense layer of the epidermis and cuticle. The thorns protect from excessive overheating, the ribs and papillae also act as a kind of shadow, blocking the stem from the sun. All this allows cacti to do without moisture for a long period in the hot sun..

When growing domestic species of cacti, you must not miss the moment when the plant will need to be transplanted into a more spacious container. This is necessary for a young culture that is gradually increasing in size..

Types of cacti

fluffy cactus speciesIt is extremely difficult to systematize cacti, since there are so many varieties. They can be subdivided according to different characteristics and characteristics. For example, in shape, needles, colors, sizes, and also distinguish between cacti, which are grown at home and growing in the wild..different types of cacti

The classification of cacti from a biological point of view implies the division of all representatives (more than 5000 names) into 4 subfamilies according to the following stable characteristics:

  • form;
  • color;
  • the structure of the ovaries;
  • the location of the flowers on the stem;
  • characteristics of fruits, seeds.

Each of the four subgroups has its own characteristics and characteristics..

Family classification

prickly pear cacti

The subgroups have the following names:

  • pereskie;
  • cactus;
  • mauchia;
  • prickly pear.

so different and so beautifulThe largest subgroup is cactus. It includes plants with a wide habitat – forest zones, desert areas, as well as home conditions. There are a lot of varieties in this group, and they all differ significantly from each other in shape, size, and a number of other characteristics. Cacti that grow in deserts are overgrown with long needles, and specimens from the forest area have rudimentary leaves instead of thorns.

In shape, cactus, most often cylindrical or spherical. Among them, there are many edible species that are specially cultivated for their fruits..

Pereskievye cactiPereskievs, on the contrary, are the smallest subgroup to which the prickly pereskii are attributed. Botanists consider this species to be a kind of transitional specimen between thorny succulents and deciduous varieties. The distribution area is the central and southern regions of America. This plant is characterized by a long stem with small and sparse thorns, elliptical leaves, sandy flowers.

Opuntia are representatives of domesticated cacti. It is easily recognizable among other species. Plants look like thick cakes and are covered with small thorns. On the territory of Russia, they can be found in the Crimea and the Caucasus. These plants feature beautiful large flowers that resemble roses. Some representatives bear fruit and eat fruits..

Mauhy cactiMauhyenous cacti are represented by only one cactus, which in its natural habitat is found only in Patagonia. Outwardly, it resembles prickly pears, but thorns are not characteristic of it..

Care should be taken when transplanting domesticated cactus species. Many representatives have a very weak root system..

Classification by appearance

different types and forms of cacti

All cacti are conventionally divided according to their appearance:

  • lianas – they mainly include epiphytes, which throw their long stems onto nearby plants, as well as walls and rocks;
  • herbaceous – have thin green stems with weakly pronounced thorns, grow on plains in heavy soils;
  • tree-like – they are characterized by a high erect stem (there are several), while the lateral shoots resemble branches;
  • shrubby – these species grow in savannas, have a classic leaf blade, low shoots, abundant flowering, resemble a bush in shape.

Of these varieties, vines and herbaceous cacti are grown at home, the rest are suitable for breeding as bonsai..

Rare types of cacti

rare species of cactiSome types of cacti are mesmerizing with their beauty, which is why they are called exotic plants. Europeans have long been accustomed to many species, but there are specimens that look very unusual..

Live stones (Ariocarpus Fissuratus)

Live stones (Ariocarpus Fissuratus)This species loses its thorns as soon as it reaches adulthood. The culture grows and develops very slowly. Without traditional thorns, the plant looks very defenseless. In fact, this is so, because thorns are the main protectors of cacti from animals and insects. Therefore, the plant protects itself in other ways. It grows in hard-to-reach places – in cracks in rocks, and also releases some toxic substances. In addition, their appearance resembles small stones, which is why they remain unnoticed by animals..

Medusa head (Astrophytum capyt-medusae)

Medusa head (Astrophytum capyt-medusae)The name of this cactus speaks for itself – the plant with its appearance resembles the hair of a jellyfish. Initially, this species was singled out in a separate category, but then it was found that its flowers and soft hairs near the stem resemble those of Astrophytum. This allowed him to stay in their row. The plant has a beautiful flowering. The flower is large, bright yellow with a red core.

Blossfeldia dwarf (Blossfeldia Liliputana)

Blossfeldia dwarf (Blossfeldia Liliputana)This variety can be found in the Andes, it grows on rocks and is considered the smallest cactus in the world. The discovered large specimen barely reached 12 mm in diameter. But the plant is made unique not only by its miniature size, but also by the pattern that forms on the trunk as the culture grows. Most cacti have rounded growth points, but this variety grows from a notch in the middle of the stem. The flowering culture continues throughout the summer months, it fertilizes on its own and produces small seeds the size of a grain of sand.

Turbinicarpus underground (Turbinicarpus subterraneus)

Turbinicarpus underground (Turbinicarpus subterraneus)The plant resembles a bat in shape. Small heads of this cactus feed on the same small roots below the surface of the earth. But despite such a miniature shape, the plant can create full-fledged water reserves during a severe drought. The variety is frost-resistant, since it easily tolerates short-term frosts (up to -4 ° C).

Desert cactus species

desert cactus speciesCacti have to survive in difficult conditions – with a minimum of moisture, high temperatures and under the pouring sun. Therefore, in the process of evolution, they acquired characteristics that helped them survive. The main organ that actively accumulates moisture is the root. It can be of different shapes, sometimes its lateral thin shoots grow a considerable distance from the crop in order to get to moisture. Other types of cacti have a bulky root, which is able to accumulate water in significant volumes. This is how plants adapt to desert life.

Desert cactus species include:

  • Ariocarpus – their stems are located as close as possible to the surface of the earth;
  • Cleistocactus – flowers are very bright located at the top, the stem is covered with white spines;
  • Astrophytums – on the stem, between the spines there are multiple thin hairs, the flowers are bright, the culture is mostly spherical;
  • Cephalocerii – very long and thin needles that look more like hairs;
  • Gymnocalycium – they lack chlorophyll, their flowers are red, pink, orange;
  • Lofofora – the plants have no thorns, and in shape they resemble a pumpkin.

These are not all species that can be attributed to desert cacti..

Each of the desert species has a kind of ridge that is filled with moisture if necessary and does not allow the upper tissue of the cactus to crack..

Ferocactus genus

ferocactusThis genus belongs to the desert species of cacti and unites more than 30 plant species. In their natural habitat, these cacti can be found in the arid regions of Mexico, as well as in the south and west of North America..

Their shape is varied – they are spherical, elongated, flattened. The stems are either solitary or strewn with many children. Their size ranges from a few centimeters to 4 m in height. The volumes are also impressive. Some species reach several meters in diameter and combine more than a hundred shoots.

Plants are characterized by rather weak roots. Most of them do not grow inland. As a rule, they go into the soil by no more than 3 cm, but they actively grow in breadth. Only certain species of the genus Ferrocactus have a root system that extends 25 cm or more..

It is noteworthy that only those varieties bloom, the height of which exceeds 20 cm..

The genus of the Aztecuma

aztecumThis genus was first discovered and described in 1929. It appeared in the northern regions of Mexico. The cactus got its name due to its shape – it resembles the statues of the Aztecs. Scientists are sure that this genus is one of the most ancient and it found ancient civilizations..

The genus has no decorative value, but it is very popular with collectors, since it belongs to rare ones. The newly discovered species is the Aztekium Hinman. The debate continues as to whether it should be considered a separate species of cacti at all. Indeed, many experts are inclined to believe that the Aztekiums are most likely a kind of mutation that turned out after the effects of lightning.

Rod Echinocactus

echinocactus gruzoniIn its natural habitat, this species can be found in parts of Mexico and the southwestern part of America. Prefers to grow in desert areas. Echinocactus Gruzoni, which is considered one of the most attractive for collectors, is very popular. The local population calls it a hedgehog cactus for its animal-like appearance, and it received its official name on behalf of a German cactus collector.

In nature, the cactus reaches enormous sizes – it grows up to 100 cm wide, and its height can be more than 150 cm. But its lifespan is more striking. The plant is considered a long-liver – often specimens develop up to 500 years.

Rod Cerius

ceriusA very extensive and ancient genus of desert cacti. It unites over 50 types. Most are home to the arid regions of America and India. Under natural conditions, these cacti can reach a height of 18-20 m, while the growing season is also amazing – it takes about 300 years.

The most popular representative is Peruvian. It is a powerful, tall plant with a fleshy structure. The stem is gray-green in color, slightly branches at the very base. The stem of the plant is split into ribs. Along them areoles with spines. Can reach up to 12 m in length in natural conditions, with the development of the house – up to 3-4 cm.

Echinopsis

Echinopsis representativeEchinopsis is the most common cactus for Europeans. The appearance resembles a hedgehog with thorns. But as it develops, the culture gradually stretches upward. Some specimens reach up to 2 m in height. For those who are engaged in growing cacti at home, echinopsis is the most preferred type, since it does not require special care. Even a beginner can handle it.

The culture has numerous ribs – up to 20 pieces, on which areoles with spines about 3 cm in size develop.The cactus bloom begins in spring or early summer. The flowers are large, elongated, up to 13-15 cm wide.

Forest species of cacti

forest cactus speciesThe appearance of such cacti is significantly different from desert ones. Their leaf plates are usually smooth, flat in shape. Along the edges they have a certain strip that performs photosynthesis. Almost all species lack thorns; in many, they have changed and now resemble scales. They are located on the lateral side of the leaf in the areoles..

A number of cacti have appeared in tropical forests thanks to migratory birds. They carried seeds of some species to the tropics. Since cacti found their home in Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

Forest (also known as tropical or leafy) varieties of cacti have many varieties, most of which develop well at home.

The most common types are:

  • Rhipsalidopsis;
  • Pereskia;
  • Prickly pear;
  • Hatiora;
  • Melocactus;
  • Zygocactus.

Many species are grown by lovers of indoor plants on their windowsills, not realizing that the culture belongs to cacti.

Zygocactus

zygocactusThe plant has several names, but more often it is called the Decembrist. In natural conditions, it grows on trees, does not accumulate moisture, blooms in winter. The color of the flowers is varied – there are white, pink, bright red, lilac. His homeland is the southeastern part of Brazil 1000-2800 m above sea level. Zygocactus belongs to epiphytic branching shrubs. The shrub is characterized by rapid growth, abundant branching, asymmetric flowers. More than 5 subspecies of this culture are known..

Pereskia

perxiaIt belongs to forest cacti; South and Central America is considered its homeland. An interesting feature of the variety is that, unlike most cactus plants, the pereskia has leaf plates. There are also thorns that can be located on the plant singly or in bunches. Their main function is to hold the culture by clinging to trees. At a young age, the leaves are green, but as it develops and grows, the color fades. Pereskia is subdivided into 18 types, some fruits can be eaten.

Ripsalis

ripsalidopsisA striking representative is ripsalidopsis. It is sometimes called an Easter candle. Stems and leaf plates are dense, fleshy. Air roots may form on the lower parts. If they come into contact with the ground, they begin to sprout. Flowering occurs in the spring months. The flowers are very beautifully shaped, like large stars. They are symmetrical, with smooth corollas. This type of cactus is considered the most moisture-loving. It is not devoid of thorns. Shoots of pale green color, at the ends of 4-6 segments up to 3 cm wide.

Prickly pear

fig prickly pearIt has more than 190 varieties, distributed in the Americas, but most of them can be found in the rainforests of Mexico. Shoots are oval, flattened, branching slightly. In their natural habitat, they can grow up to 4 m. The plant is abundantly covered with thorns, and long and sharp, they are easily separated from the main stem. The bloom is very bright – large flowers of rich orange color.

Hatiora

succulent hathioraThis is a small genus that can be classified as forest cacti, consisting of several plants. It is a low epiphytic shrub. Stems are light green, segmented. Each segment branches abundantly. Based on the specific type, they can be cylindrical, flat, directed in different directions. In the warm season, flowering begins. At the tops of the shoots, bright flowers are formed, rather large in size..

Home-grown cacti

cacti for home cultivationPreviously, cacti were collected exclusively by great lovers of exotic plants, but more recently it turned out that in addition to the decorative function, they have a lot of benefits. For example, thorns clean indoor air well, like leaves of any other plants, because they emit negative ions. And if you achieve abundant and long flowering from a cactus, then you can get a beautiful decor for the room..

Cactus Queen of the Night

cactus queen of the nightThis cactus got its name for a reason – it blooms once a year for just one night. A single flower blooms on the stem, very large and bright. Its size is 30 cm in diameter. Another advantage of the cactus is the rich aroma from the flower..

Spurge

spurgeThe plant emits a toxic substance with a viscous consistency. It stands out on the breaks of the stems. This is where the name of the cactus comes from. However, many grow it on windowsills. Once upon a time, arrows were impregnated with this liquid. In some parts of Africa, it is still used today, for example, when fishing.

Indoor spurge is quite unpretentious, it is easy to care for it. It is worth noting that even this species is diverse. All its characteristic features are different from each other. For example, Euphorbia Mila is a thorny succulent shrub, with home breeding up to 1 m tall. The stems are highly branched, and the flowers are collected in inflorescences of a bright shade. Their natural color is scarlet, but hybrid varieties have a variety of colors..

When growing a cactus at home, first of all, you need to choose the right place in the room for full development. The best place for a plant would be the sunny side of the room with access to fresh air..

Sulcorebutia

arenaSulcorebutia are solitary cacti with spherical stems. Some representatives have elongated bodies from 1 to 10 cm in length. They can be located in the form of numerous clusters. The ribs are not clearly defined on the stem, since they are formed in a spiral. The spines are rather short and can have a variety of shades, as can the flowers. Their diameter is up to 5 cm, the color is always bright.

Tiny rebutia

rebution of heliosisThe smallest cactus with a slightly flat shape. It can be single or with many lateral processes. The stems are bright green, covered with tubercles, which are arranged in a spiral. The spines are up to 5 mm long and are light in color. During the flowering period, the inflorescences are located on the side of the stem on a kind of flower tube. Basic shades of flowers: white, cream, pink, orange and red.

Blossfeldia dwarf

Blossfeldia dwarfBlossfeldia combines several types of cacti, but one of the most remarkable is the dwarf one. It is she who is willingly grown at home. Its stems are dark green, ball-shaped. They are no more than a couple of centimeters in diameter. They are devoid of spines and ribs, the areoles are located mainly at the apex. Lateral shoots in a young plant begin to develop only after the root system is sufficiently strong. It is noteworthy that the roots are 10 times the size of the ground part. Before the appearance of new shoots, the epidermis begins to stretch and small tubercles form in this place..

Cacti are one of the most abundant plants, with over 130 genera and nearly 2000 species. They live in hot, desert regions, including the Atacama Desert, which is considered the driest. Today, cacti are happily grown at home, especially since they are not capricious. True fans of exotic plants manage to collect unique collections with specimens collected around the world.

Ten most beautiful cacti – video

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