Do You Know? Cactus, Leafless but Spiny Plants

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Most cacti grow in very hot and dry places. What causes cacti to live in hot places? As it turns out, cacti have many ways to adapt.

  • Cactus plants are native to North America and South America. There are also those from East Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.
  • In the world, there are about 1650 types of cactus plants. Some types of cacti live in humid areas. However, most cacti live in very hot and dry areas.
  • Cacti have a waxy coating on their bodies. The wax coating is useful for preventing the evaporation of water in hot and windy deserts.
  • When it rains, the shallow and widespread roots of the cactus quickly absorb the water that falls to the ground. Then, the water will be stored on the stem so that it looks swollen.
  • The water stored by the cactus does not taste good. That’s one way to prevent thirsty animals from eating cacti.
  • Cacti do not have leaves but have thorns. Because they have no leaves, cacti can reduce a lot of evaporation.
  • The spines protect the cactus from desert animals that want to eat it. Animals that are pricked by cactus spines will be in pain and the spines are difficult to remove from their skin.
  • Cactus spines cannot repel small animals such as mealybugs that cause disease on cacti. Therefore, cacti cooperate with ants. Ants get nectar and water from cacti, while cacti are free from mealybugs because they are attacked by ants.
  • Cacti have stems that contain chlorophyll. Therefore, the process of photosynthesis of cacti is carried out on the stem.
  • Pollination in some types of cactus occurs at night. Pollination is carried out by long-nosed bats.
  • The age of the cactus is between 10 years to 200 years, depending on the type. Cacti that live in nature live longer than cacti that are kept.
  • Several types of cacti are ornamental plants that can be kept at home.
  • There are cactus fruits that can be eaten and used as medicine.

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