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Cactus Gardening

All cactus plants are succulents, but not all succulents are cactus plants. Being able to tell the difference is one of the concerns in the cactus gardening section. Other questions to be asked and answered include the specifics of a cactus plant's adaptability, environmental impact, growing conditions, harmful stresses, native habitats, propagation methods, and value for people and wildlife.

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What adaptations does cactus have to desert?

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Cacti have several adaptations to survive in deserts, including thick, water-storing stems to minimize water loss, spines to protect against herbivores and provide shade, shallow and wide-spreading roots to quickly absorb water after rainfall, and the ability to conduct photosynthesis at night to minimize water loss through evaporation.

Is a barrel cactus the same as saguaro?

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No, a barrel cactus and a saguaro are two different species of cacti. Barrel cacti are smaller, rounder cacti with ribs and spines all around, while saguaros are taller, columnar cacti with arms that grow as they age. Both are native to the deserts of the Americas, but they have distinct characteristics.

Why is a cactus adapted well in the desert?

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Cacti are well-adapted to the desert because they store water in their thick stems to survive long periods of drought. Their spines help reduce water loss by providing shade and protection from predators. Additionally, their shallow roots can quickly absorb water after rain showers.

How does the stem of a cactus help it survive in a environment?

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The stem of a cactus is typically thick and succulent, allowing it to store water during times of drought. This adaptation helps the cactus survive in arid environments by providing a reserve of water for times when it is scarce. Additionally, the stem is often covered in a waxy layer to reduce water loss through evaporation.

How far north do wild saguaro cactus live?

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Wild saguaro cacti typically grow naturally in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico, ranging as far north as southern Arizona. They thrive in hot, arid environments where the conditions are optimal for their growth and survival.

Why the stem of cactus is deep and fleshy?

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The deep and fleshy stem of a cactus helps it store water to survive in arid environments with limited rainfall. This adaptation allows the cactus to conserve water during dry periods and sustain itself until more water becomes available. The fleshy stem also provides structural support for the cactus in areas where resources may be scarce.

Why are cactus leaves tiny?

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Cactus leaves are often tiny or absent altogether because they have evolved to minimize water loss through transpiration in arid environments. The reduced leaf surface area helps cacti conserve water and thrive in their harsh habitats.

Why leaves are absent in cactus?

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Cacti have adapted to desert environments by reducing their leaf surface area to minimize water loss through transpiration. Instead, they perform photosynthesis through their green stems, which are covered in a protective waxy layer to prevent water loss. This unique adaptation helps cacti survive in arid conditions.

Are cacti dicots?

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Yes, cacti are dicots. Dicots are a type of flowering plant that have two seed leaves, whereas monocots have one seed leaf. Cacti belong to the class Magnoliopsida, which includes dicots.

Why are cacti fleshy?

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Cacti have fleshy stems to store water in arid environments, helping them survive long periods of drought. This adaptation allows cacti to minimize water loss and thrive in dry conditions, making them well-suited for deserts and other water-scarce habitats.

Why do cactus roots grow close to surface?

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Cactus roots grow close to the surface to quickly absorb any moisture from rain or dew before it evaporates in arid environments. This adaptation helps them survive in dry conditions with limited access to water. Additionally, shallow roots allow cacti to anchor themselves securely in the sandy or rocky soils commonly found in their native habitats.

What shelter does a cactus have?

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A cactus typically has spines or thorns that act as its shelter, protecting it from animals that might try to eat it. These sharp structures also help to reduce water loss by providing shade and reducing air flow around the cactus. Additionally, some cacti have a waxy outer coating that helps to prevent water loss and protect the plant from harsh sunlight.

What is the thorns on the cactus for?

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Thorns on a cactus serve as a protective mechanism to deter animals and humans from damaging or consuming the plant. They help reduce water loss by providing shade and protecting the cactus from predators.

What are the disadvantages of a cactus having sharp spines instead of leaves?

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Sharp spines can limit the surface area available for photosynthesis, reducing the plant's ability to produce energy. Additionally, spines can potentially injure animals, making it harder for them to access the plant for pollination or seed dispersal. Lastly, spines can also limit the amount of shade a cactus can provide for other plants in its environment.

Why does a root of a cactus help it to survive in its normal habitat?

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Cactus roots are shallow and spread out widely to help the plant quickly absorb water in arid environments. The roots also have specialized adaptations, such as the ability to store water and prevent loss through evaporation, which help cacti survive in their dry habitats.

Can it be dangerous if you get a cactus thorn in your skin?

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Yes it can ... particularly if it becomes embedded under the skin. The body will make every effort to consume foreign items, such as thorns for instance, and if that thorn is infected in any way, the surrounding tissues can also become infected, causing what the medical community calls a skin ulcer. At that point, surgery may be required to cleanse the wound site from the infection and hopefully removed the thorn. Best advice is to have the thorn removed by a medical professional as soon as possible.

What is man doing to destroy the desert cactus?

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Man is destroying desert cactus through habitat destruction, illegal trade, and climate change. Deforestation and urban development threaten cactus populations, while illegal harvesting for ornamental or medicinal use further diminishes their numbers. Additionally, climate change exacerbates natural threats, like droughts and wildfires, putting cacti at risk of extinction.

How do cactus grow flowers?

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Cacti typically bloom in response to specific triggers like temperature, light, or water availability. Once these triggers are met, the cactus will produce flower buds, which eventually blossom into flowers. Cactus flowers are usually brightly colored to attract pollinators like bees or birds.

Can a cactus survive in cold weather?

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Yes there is several prickly pears and some others that are hardy well below freezing, as long as they are well drained and dont stay moist for too long they should be fine. the cold and snow arent what is gonna kill it but the moist soil will make it rot. Planting them in a raised bed with a soil mix designed for cacti should help and they will do fine

Are those needles in the cactus really needles?

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No, what you see on a cactus are modified leaves or spines, not actual needles. Spines are used for protection against animals and to reduce water loss.

Where are cacti originally from?

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Cacti are primarily native to the Americas, with the majority of species found in North and South America. They are well adapted to arid and semi-arid regions, such as deserts and drylands. Some species have also been introduced to other parts of the world as ornamental plants.

Is a cactus covered with thorns?

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The jumping cholla [Cylindropuntia bigelovii] doesn't need to launch its thorns. The thorns just loosen easily in response to strong wind events, or contact. The cactus is native to North America. In Mexico, it's found in the Sonoran Desert. In the U.S., it's found in Arizona, California, and Texas. It's also known by a number of common names, including the ironic Teddy Bear cholla.

What kind of cactus is the biggest?

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Pachycereus pringlei, also known as Mexican Giant Cardon or Elephant Cactus, is a species of cactus that is native to northwestern Mexico and grows to 63 feet in height, the largest in the world.

How is cactus well adapted in desert?

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Cacti are well adapted to deserts due to their water-storing ability in their thick, fleshy stems and spines that help reduce water loss by providing shade and reducing air flow around the plant. Their shallow, widespread root system allows them to quickly absorb water after a rain event, and their ability to conduct photosynthesis at night reduces water loss through transpiration during the day.

Where is cactus found in?

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Cactus plants grow natively in the southwestern United States of America. But they may be found throughout the dry, hot Great Plains' states all the way to North Dakota. Additionally, they may be grown inside in many of the states as long as levels of heat, humidity, light, and moisture are controlled and monitored.