Tips on Identifying a Cactus
- Spines : Spines are the first feature most people recognize on a cactus. They vary greatly in size, color and shape. Spines are not thorns but rather modified leaves in the early stages of development. Interestingly enough, as the cactus matures and the spines grow, the spines lose their characteristics of leaveWs and only have living cells at the base of the spine.
- Flowers : Cactus flowers are unique and complex. The cacti will form what is called a floral tube on which the flowers form on top.
- Leaves : Most cacti do not have visible leaves. Some have evolved thickened and succulent looking leaves to prevent and lessen water loss.
- Areoles : Areoles are unique to cacti. They are wooly, hairy looking structures from which the flowers, spines and new growth emerge.
Want to see how well you know the difference between a cactus and a succulent? Take this quiz. Cactus or Succulent Quiz