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Difference Between Cacti and Succulents

Difference Between Cacti and Succulents

Many of us love these plants, but when it comes to differentiating between them, it is no longer so easy. Although we all quickly associate a cactus with the typical desert plants covered with thorns in different ways, when we talk about succulents, not everyone is so clear about what a succulent is and what it is not. Are they the same as cacti? Are the spines what differentiates them? And why then are there cactus without thorns?

If you want to clarify all your doubts about it and put an end to the false beliefs that are widespread in this matter, join us in this EcologíaVerde article in which we take a trip around the characteristics and differences between cacti and succulentsas well as succulent plants.

what are succulent plants

To begin with, it is best to make clear the definitions of the plants we are talking about. The first turn is for succulents: what is a succulent plant? Well, neither more nor less than all that is able to store water in its various organswhether stems, roots or leaves, or several of them, as well as reduce perspiration that suffers.

As you may have already imagined, these are survival mechanisms or adaptations of plants to survive in extremely hot environments and regularly suffer from droughts, which allow them to store water and humidity when it is available, and conserve it for as long as possible. Any plant with these water storage and transpiration reduction capabilities, regardless of its family or where it specifically stores water, is considered a succulent plant. Among them are more than 60 botanical families.

Here you can know some of the Types of succulent plants.

Difference between cacti and succulents - What are succulent plants

what are cacti

Cacti, as we can easily see from the description above, they are succulent plants: they store water in their stems, sometimes single and at other times in the form of several columns. cacti, or cacti, always come from arid or desert environments, where water is scarce, and therefore they are among the plants with the greatest water storage capacity. They have to collect as much water as possible on the rare occasions that there is.

cacti have more than 15 genera and 73 species. Most cacti, moreover, have turned their leaves into characteristic spines. These fulfill a double function, because in addition to preventing or making it difficult for animals to eat them, they are capable of capturing the small dew drops that form with the first light of day, thus giving rise to amazingly adapted species.

Of course, we must bear in mind that, although we associate cacti with thorny plants, not all species have them, and there are spineless cactus that you can have in your home without any fear for your pets or small children.

In these other posts you can discover the Types of cacti: names and care.

Difference between cacti and succulents - What are cacti

what are crasas

Succulents are botanically defined as non-cacti succulents. Namely, they are succulent plantswhich implies that they are capable of storing water and reducing perspiration, but they do not belong to the cacti family.

Succulents have different methods of storing water, many of them doing so in their fleshy leaves, which usually appear in rosettes and expand more or less depending on the amount of water they store. If you have succulents at home, you can control their volume by watering, but be careful not to overdo it! They are usually very sensitive plants to excess moisture and waterlogging.

It is necessary to distinguish, however, the two possible meanings that the word “gross” receives, and that is that it can be used both to specifically designate Crassulaceaeas used as a simple synonym for succulents.

Difference between cacti and succulents - What are succulents

What is the difference between cacti and succulents

The main difference here is that all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are just one of the many families that make up the succulent plant group.

One of its main differences or distinctive features is the cacti areola: only these have them, and they are the circular shoots from which their hairs or spines arise, although it is not always easy to distinguish.

What is the difference between succulents and succulents?

If we refer to succulents as synonymous with succulent plants, logically we will not find any difference. If we stick, instead, to the Crasulaceae family, we find ourselves before the same case as cacti: succulents are succulents, but not all succulents are succulentsas these are just one of the around 60 families that the group includes.

Crassulaceae have simple leaves that arise from a stem in opposite, alternate, or rosette fashion. One of its main characteristics is its way of performing photosynthesis in two phases, which is adapted to the extreme conditions in which they thrive. Here you can learn more about Photosynthesis: what it is, phases and importance.

What is the difference between cacti and succulents?

Again, if we take the word crass referring to Crasulaceae, in this case we are before two different families that both belong to the group of succulent plants. Once again, and given the great diversity of Crassulaceae, the simplest thing is to look for the circular areoles from which the spines or hairs of the cacti sprout. If it does, it is unequivocally a cactus.

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