Cactus Facts for Kids

A Picture of a Cactus
  • Common Name: Cactus, Cacti
  • Taxonomy Order: Caryophyllales
  • Taxonomy Family: Cactaceae
  • Taxonomy Genera: 127+
  • Total Species: 1,750+
  • Distribution: North America, South America, Africa and Asia

21 Cactus Facts for Kids

  1. Cactus is the name of plant that is the member of the plant family Cactaceae.
  2. The Cactaceae plant family contains over 1,750 species of cacti.
  3. The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of 127 genera in the Cactaceae plant family.
  4. The 1,750 species of cacti belong to one of two subfamilies, Opuntioideae or Cactoideae.
  5. A cactus is typically green, but some species have a green-bluish or green-brownish color.
  6. Cacti are known for their sharp spines and ability to survive in very dry environments.
  7. The spines of a cactus help protect it from animals. The spines also reduce airflow around the surface of the cactus and provide some shade, which reduces the loss of water from evaporation.
  8. A cactus is classified as a succulent plant, which means it can store large amounts of water.
  9. As a succulent plant, a cactus can store water and thrive in very hot and dry climates, like a desert.
  10. The flowers and spines on a cactus can vary in color and size by species.
  11. Cacti are found in North America, South America, Africa and a small part of Asia.
  12. All species of cacti are found in either North America or South America, except for mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera), which are found in Africa and a small part of Asia.
  13. Cacti come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
  14. The largest living cactus is the elephant cactus (Pachycereus pringlei).
  15. The elephant cactus has an average height of 30 feet. There have been verified specimens of the elephant cactus that have reached a height of 60 feet.
  16. The smallest living cactus is the Blossfeldia liliputiana.
  17. The Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average has a diameter between 0.39 and 0.47 inch. The flowers of the Blossfeldia liliputiana cactus on average have a diameter between 0.19 and 0.27 inch.
  18. The lifespan of a cactus varies by species and ranges between 15 and 300 years.
  19. No fossils of cacti have yet to be discovered by archeologists. Estimates of when cacti evolved range between 5 million years ago and 145 million years ago. For now, it’s all theory as to when cacti first appeared on our planet.
  20. Cacti are a popular ornament plant and many species are grown indoors and outdoors by humans.
  21. Some species of cacti can produce hallucinations due to psychoactive agents they produce.

Find More Facts About Cacti