7 Things to Know About Cactus Plant

So what differentiates this thorny succulent from other houseplants? They are prickly, brawny and look somewhat alien with their sharp looks. Even so, the cactus is a spiky and fascinating species that has more than what meets the eye. Here are some amazing things you need to know about Cactus.

7 Things to Know About Cactus Plant

Origin of the Name

The name cactus is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘kaktos’, which means ‘spiky plant’. Cactus denotes a single plant and the word ‘Cacti’ is used to denote more than one cactus plant.

Its Thorns are Actually Spines

The thorn in the cactus is actually spines. They are basically (or used to be) the leaves of this particular plant. Over the period of time, spines developed from the leaves to help this plant withstand even the most extreme living conditions.

It Grows Slowly

Cactus grow at a highly slower rate. Saguaro cacti grow merely one inch tall over the span of ten years. In the wild, this plant can survive for hundreds of years. Indoors, they may live for decades. Here are some care tips to help cactus survive and thrive.

Cactus is Also Vulnerable to Predators

Yes. In spite of its spiky body, the cactus can still be an easy target for different predators. There are some rodents that chew on cactus pads. Birds, deer, antelopes, jackrabbits, squirrels and wild pigs consume cactus fruits.

Has Intoxication Properties

Around 3000 years ago, the native Americans found out that some species of cactus were intoxicating. They backed their theories as they chewed some pieces of the plant; they believed they were closer to God. The peyote cactus is the most widely known species that contains mescaline. A renowned pharmacologist, Louis Lewin examined the peyote cactus and extracted a substance called ‘anhalonin’. Later in 1919, Ernst Späth achieved the complete synthesis and laid the basis for the artificial manufacturing of the intoxicant.

Can be Used to Make Furniture

Since some parts of the cactus turn woody over time, it can be used to build furniture and toys. The wood is said to have no knotholes, is flexible and pretty stable.

Grows Unexpectedly Pretty Flowers

Almost all species of cactus can grow varieties of huge flowers that bloom in very pretty shades of pink, white, red, orange, blue or yellow. The flowers are pollinated by bees, butterflies and even bats.