Cacti are peculiar prickly plants that have adapted to life in arid deserts, on the low-fertile plateaus of southern countries, and belong to an extensive cactus family. They grow well on the sands of deserts and semi-deserts, on rocky plateaus between crevices of rocks, glowing by the scorching rays of the sun. Under such conditions, these plants have adapted to store moisture in the stem during the rainy season for dry times. Cacti, with few exceptions, do not have leaves, and their function is performed by a thickened green stem, which has the most diverse shape: cylindrical, columnar, spherical, trihedral, etc. The stems of cacti are smooth, ribbed, tuberous, wrinkled with papillae or notches; they are coated externally with a hard cuticle with a wax coating.
The leaves of cacti are modified into thorns, bristles and hairs of various shapes, lengths (up to 12 cm) and color. They come out of felt-pubescent pads. Only leaf-bearing cactus (peirescia) has leaves somewhat resembling citrus leaves. Hair, bristles and thorns serve at home to protect against animals, and are also a device for animals to transport prickly fruits, "babies" and reduce the evaporation of moisture.
On the original, bizarre, and sometimes very small cacti, beautiful, large flowers appear, varying in shape and color. Cactus flowers are bisexual, funnel-shaped, tubular, more sessile. In some plants, they bloom only at night. There are very fragrant flowers.
© Tobias Klüpfel
Many of the cacti in the homeland produce edible fruits. Others go to feed livestock (thornless prickly pear prickly pear), form hedges from superfluous cacti (cereus), and their trunks go to small buildings and for fuel.
In the rooms, dwarf species of cacti are bred, which take up little space. On one windowsill, you can grow several dozen of them. Large collections of them are in the botanical gardens, as well as among many lovers.
- Floriculture - D.F. Yukhimchuk.